19 years ago today, America (and the world) was hit by tragedy. Extremist group al-Queda hijacked 4 passenger airplanes, 2 were flown into the World Trade Center, 1 crashed into the Pentagon, and 1 crashed in PA (the hijackers were trying to fly it to DC, but the passengers thwarted that attempt and the plane crashed into a field).
Within an hour and 42 minutes, the World Trade Center was no more. 25,000 people were injured, and 2,977 people were killed.
I remember that day vividly. I was a freshman in college, and on my own for the first time in my life. The school was holding a job fair that day, and I woke up early to check it out. The job fair was being held in a room next to the cafe. When I walked in, people were glued to the TV. The entire feel of the room was very off. I looked at the TV and saw the 2nd plane hit the towers. Live. Words cannot describe what I was feeling when I saw that. I was a mix of horrified, sick, angry, disbelief, etc. All of us had tears in our eyes. None of us could believe what the fuck was happening. It felt like everything stopped. Even the newscasters on TV were freaked out. After several minutes in a daze, I grabbed my flip phone and walked out of the building to call family. I couldn't get through to anyone. I was shaking while I walked to my dorm. Everyone I encountered was so upset and terrified. As I walked to my dorm, I saw 15-20 cars leaving campus, all with NY license plates. When I got inside my room, I turned on the news and learned that the borders to NY were closed. I kept trying to contact family and all attempts failed. My aunt lived in NY at the time and she had just had a baby 4 days before the attacks happened. I was so worried for her, my baby cousin, and my uncle.
I don't remember much about what happened later that day. Time had stopped and I was just terrified to be anywhere. This was the first time I was afraid of the world around me.
A few days later, my school planted a Unity Pole in the center of campus. I was at the ceremony and it was really beautiful to see all of us come together. It seemed like our entire country was coming together to try and process everything that happened. I was very proud to be an American during this time.
All of us coming together, working together, uplifting one another, THAT is the true spirit of America. It's sad we can't be like that in 2020. We'd probably be in a much better place if we weren't so divided. If we could be just as connected as we were back then, we would get through anything.
One way we can honor those who died on 9/11 is to come together in our current circumstances. The coronavirus has killed nearly 200,000 of our American brothers and sisters. We can't fight each other anymore. We need to find our American spirit again.