Like most people, I remember the exact moment that I heard about the attacks on 9/11.
I was in college at the time, and I had a 9:00-10:20am journalism class that morning. I had gotten to class a little early, around 8:45am, and settled in.
It was around that very time that the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center.
Meanwhile, I was in class, putting the date on a fresh, blank sheet of paper in my notebook. I distinctly remember writing 9/11 at the top of the page and thinking, “Oh, wow. 9-1-1. Weird date.”
Class went on as usual. No one in the large lecture hall said anything about a plane crash in New York City that morning. Perhaps everyone was either on their way to class when it happened, or just not watching television at that time.
It wasn’t until I got into my car to drive to my next class that I heard of anything going on.
And by that time, the news wasn’t about a small plane crash in New York City. No, by that time it was clear that we were under attack.
I had been listening to Howard Stern on the way to my first class, so that’s what came on when I got in my car around 10:30am to drive to my next class. I couldn’t quite follow what they were talking about at first, until they cut to a CBS correspondent, who brought me up to speed with what was going on.
Two planes had hit the World Trade Center towers. A plane had crashed into the Pentagon. There was a missing plane in the sky somewhere around Pittsburgh. The World Trade Center towers had come collapsing to the ground.
I immediately called Audrey at home. She and Matt had recently moved back to Rhode Island from New York City.
I asked her what the hell was going on, and she confirmed what I had heard bits of pieces about on the radio.
I told her I was driving home and I’d meet her at Mom and Dad’s house.
It was there that I watched – as it was replayed over and over and over and over again – the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. The towers collapsing. The chaos, the terror, the panic going on.
Even though I was nowhere near any of the attacks, like most everyone in the country, I was absolutely terrified. And just stunned.
I know I am not the only one who will never forget where I was the moment I heard. Nor will I ever forget the people who lost their lives that day.
That seemingly normal September day. Blue skies, warm air. Oh, how gorgeous that morning was as I walked into class with the sun shining down.
Nothing in this world would ever be the same again after the events that took place that morning. Not for me, not for anyone.
We must never forget.