As I look back, I remember that day. I was a junior in high school. I even remember what I was wearing - a pale blue corduroy skirt, a burgundy and blue argyle sweater, and my knee high black boots. In the middle of my English class I was bored out of my mind, and heard someone walking down the hallway saying that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York. My first reaction was "someone made a MAJOR miscalculation on that one!" By the time class got out, there was lots of talk about what had happened and was happening. I had just applied to go to New York on the citizenship trip the North Alabama Conference took every year. I had been looking forward to this trip since I was in about 8th grade and this was supposed to be my year to get to go, so I just kept asking in my head over and over "What about the trip?"
We had a break between classes, and lots of people went running for classrooms with TVs, but I went outside with my friends just like normal. It was a nice, sunny day with beautiful weather. I laughed at the jokes people were making, knowing deep in my gut that I wouldn't be laughing again for quite a while. I was right. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and numb. I had been through so many different emotions and I couldn't think about anything else.
Even now, when I think about all that happened in the days and weeks following, I remember my trip above everything else. Because that is what made it real for me. The eerie silence as we neared the hole in the ground that was once the sight of two enormous buildings. The sight of the Burger King that was all boarded up. The make-shift memorials all over the place. It was and continues to be overwhelming.
This year, I was introduced to a new book with a different perspective on some of the aftermath. So if you're looking for a good read, I highly recommend The Faith Club. It WILL make you think, but it's great. As we continue to look back, let's not forget to also look forward at the days of hope to come!