Throughout our lives we have milestones that we share with our families and friends like weddings and births. It is very rare to share a day with the world that we will remember forever.
September 11, 2001 is a day I will never forget much like everyone else. It was a beautiful and clear Tuesday morning when my alarm clock went off at 9am. I was still a student at Kutztown University sharing an apartment with my three friends. My alarm, set to Howard Stern on WYSP, slowly woke me up and I heard about a building being hit by an airplane. I literally thought it was a joke.
I quickly turned on my little TV with a built in VHS and there it was. A plane had hit one of the towers and my mouth just dropped open with no words. I ran into the TV room where my roommate, Dawn, was sitting and watching. We looked at each other with great fear and confusion. We immediately got onto our Nokia cell phones with green screens to call our families.
Her brother, Teddy, worked for the mayor of Philadelphia. My mother worked at the Monmouth County courthouse just 45 miles south of the World Trade Center. We begged them to go home because we didn’t know what was next.
The remainder of the day was sitting on the couch watching the day unravel. We cried, we questioned and we wanted to be home. Every year on this day I text Dawn and tell her I’m thinking of her just like I did this morning.
Dawn and I in front at our apartment about a month after Sept. 11.
In the days ahead the campus came together to support each other. I had never seen so many American flags around town. People were nicer and more forgiving.
As I tear up writing this I wonder how I can prevent this from happening again. I think it’s important to remember those days following September 11. While our lives have moved on for the most part we are all still humans trying to lead happy lives.
I hope when I have my own children they do not have to live in fear. I have come to hate being in a crowd because I’m not sure how to get out. Elevators are another fear. More importantly, I don’t ever want them to experience another September 11.
Today I will help remember those we have lost by running the September 11 Memorial Run in Belmar. We will stop at the memorials along the way with a little ceremony. I imagine it will be quiet, respectful and there will be tears shed. Keep those who lost their lives and their loved ones in your thoughts today.