On September 11, 2001, 19 militants hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
In 2001 my husband and I were living with my parents and driving an hour to Vermont Technical College for school. I didn’t have class that day. My husband called me and told me to turn on the news. I felt shock, disbelief, sadness, and fear as I watched the reports of the first plane crashing into the twin towers. All those feelings were multiplied when the news reported on the second plane crashing into the twin towers and the plane crashing into the pentagon. Heavy, sobbing cries came when I saw that the fourth plane had crashed, that the heroes on board had found out what happened to the other three planes and decided they would sacrifice themselves and everyone on board to make sure their plane didn’t kill anyone else. Sixteen years ago, and typing those words are causing a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I didn’t know any of the victims personally, but this changed my country suddenly and permanently.
The rest of the day was confusion and fear, watching all air travel shut down and strand thousands of people all over the country. I shook my head as all kinds of theories were shared…I wanted reliable, verified information, not conspiracies and speculation. Facts didn’t come quickly. For a week, the only planes in the sky were US military. Forever after, the way we board planes has changed. When I was a kid, picking up someone at the airport meant meeting them at the gate as they got off the plane. That’s unheard of now. Changes have rippled through many aspects of life, all traced back to that event.
What memories do you have of this event? How did you and the people in your life feel about it?