Every September, I, like so many around the country, am reminded of that fateful Tuesday morning that changed everything.
As the “Remembering our Fallen” memorial made its way to McDade Park in Scranton this week, I couldn’t help but think about Sept. 11, 2001.
Someone had looked at me and asked how old I was on that date.
“I was in second grade,” I said.
“Oh, so you probably don’t remember much of that day then,” he responded.
I remember it vividly.
I was in a classroom full of children confused as to why they couldn’t be outside for recess on such a sunny day, teachers trying to stay calm and ease our wondering minds.
At one point, when my teacher went to put a movie on, footage of the towers falling came on.
At just 7 years old, my classmates and I didn’t understand what we were seeing
Some thought it was just another movie, and commented on the explosion. The channel was quickly changed.
For me, it wasn’t until I came home to find my father, who was in the Navy and on active duty at the time, that I knew something bad had happened.
He was always at the base Monday through Friday. I thought if he’s home, there’s something wrong in the family.
So many memories of my childhood are foggy or seem distant, but that day stands out. Traumatic experiences often do. And while I can’t forget that day, I know shouldn’t either.
None of us should.
The effects of that day are still prevalent. In McDade Park, there is a solemn reminder of the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the years following the attack.
Their sacrifices are joined by the brave first responders who lost their lives rushing into burning buildings.
The death toll from that day continues to rise. Various media reports in the last few weeks have put the number of cases of cancer related to people breathing in the air of lower Manhattan in the days after the attack near 10,000.
Many of those are brave souls who rushed to Ground Zero to help search for survivors, recover the dead and clear debris. A grim task to be sure.
They didn’t know the lasting impact of their decision to act at the time, but, even if they did, I’m sure it wouldn’t have mattered. They would have acted just the same.
It’s odd to think that there are people who are learning about that in a textbook, rather then remembering where they were.
But it is important that they learn, and that those of use who remember don’t soon forget the magnitude of that day.
So come Tuesday – 17 years after we were attacked – take some time and reflect on Sept. 11, 2001 and those that sacrificed so much that day and especially those that continue to suffer because of it.
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