Fifteen 

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It’s hard to believe that fifteen years have passed  since that horrible September day our nation was brutally attacked and so many lives were lost.
I remember that morning very clearly. I was a junior in high school, and almost did not go to school that day. I had a horrible head cold but decided to go to school half the day so I could maintain my perfect attendance. My mom agreed she’d get me an appointment and call the school to give me permission to leave. I continued on my way to school, with everything seemingly normal.

We were sitting in my first period class, which was JROTC. I cannot, for the life of me, remember who told us to turn on the TV, but I can remember watching CNN and first thinking a pilot had accidentally flown the plane into the World Trade Center. It was when the second plane hit that we realized what was happening. 

One of my JROTC instructors had a son who lived and worked near the WTC complex. He was unable to reach him, and I’ll never forget the panic in his eyes and the relief in his face when he finally was able to talk to his son. By the grace of God his son was ok.

We all watched in disbelief as the first tower fell, and later as the second tower fell. I’ll never forget the CNN anchor’s words as the camera panned out to show a view of Manhattan island completely obscured by smoke: “There are no words.”

This news anchor didn’t realize, but he had inadvertently summed up the feelings so many of us felt at that moment.  We had no words to describe the horror we’d just seen and the heaviness in our hearts. 

When I tried to check out of school for my appointment, there were so many parents in the office that I couldn’t get in the door. Parents had come to pick up their children and take them home.

For the rest of the school day, we continued to watch the news. Radio stations stopped playing music and played only news coverage and tributes. People walked around numb and solemn for several weeks. It took weeks for things to return to normal, and in some ways, what was “normal” changed completely.

Fifteen years later I still can’t understand how a human being can harbor this much evil that they could just murder thousands of souls in such a violent and horrible way. 

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A fellow blogger said it best: today is a day to remember, reflect and pray.  It isn’t a day to knock politicians. It isn’t a day to joke.  It’s a day to respect and remember those who were lost. 

And never forget.

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