The number sequence 9-1-1 used to be what we were taught in elementary school to call in case of emergencies. But, from here on out that number sequence will always be nine-eleven and it will forever conjure memories of what we, as an American public were doing that day in 2001.
I was 21 years old. I was a senior at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. I got up that morning, in a fog, and went to my 9 AM Spanish 2000 class. My friend sat down next to me and at that point, neither of us knew what was going on in New York City. As more people came into class the rumblings began. I just remember looking at my friend and both of us being like “Oh shit!”
When that class was over, I made the executive decision to skip my 10 o’clock class and go back to my dorm room and watch the TV. We had cell phones but they were no where near what they are today- so, there was no just looking on my phone to try to figure out what was going on.
So, I got back to my room in time to wake up one of my roommates and watch the second plane hit the second tower. We just watched in quiet disbelief. It was just so shocking. It was in those moments that I began to realize that even though we were citizens of one of the, if not the most powerful country in the world and we were not invincible. Perhaps it was our arrogance that made the attack even more stinging. Not since Pearl Harbor had the US been so blatantly punched in the gut.
The aftermath and shock that followed the morning of nine-eleven can never be wiped away from the American conscience. Those that lived through that day are bound even those of us thousands of miles away from the epicenter.
But, the American public has rallied. And as hard as it is to believe that the attack was 14 years ago- we all take time to respectfully remember the events of that day. We pause to remember how blindsided we, as a collective American public were. The terror of the people in the tower and of their family members watching on TV. And the terror of the people in the city and the terror of the people around the country and world- it is unforgettable.