There are some moments in time that you remember vividly for the rest of your life. I think September 11, 2001 was one of those days for many Americans and others around the world. Like remembering where you were the day Kennedy was shot, Elvis died and when the Challenger exploded, that day is one that will be embedded in your brain for years and decades to come.
On September 11, 2001, I was an eighth grader at Brown City Junior High School. I walked into my second-hour history class, taught by Mrs. Johnson, to find the television on and turned to the news. It was common to watch films in that class, but watching normal TV was definitely out of the ordinary. We had missed the first plane hitting the towers, but within 10 minutes of class starting, we saw the second one hit. I remember feeling more amazed than anything, without a real handle on or understanding of what was going on.
We would be watching a lot of news that day. No assignments were given out, no one talked much and, in band, no music was played. At the time, our band room was in the elementary school building with no television. Instead of rehearsing, we walked down to the high school and sat with another class. It’s funny the little things like that which stick in your brain, but in every class, during lunch and when I got home that afternoon, the news was the one constant thing I remember like it was yesterday.
Since that day, a lot of things have changed. I graduated from high school and college. I got a job and moved to the big city on my own. I went from being a kid to an adult, growing up in the shadow of September 11, 2001. I hardly remember flying before full body scans, “terrorism” has been a major part of my world view vocabulary for nearly half of my life, and, for the first time this year, I have a family member in the military who could be deployed to the Middle East.
September 11, 2001 played a big role in shaping my generation. We will never forget, because we can’t. To quote President Roosevelt, that moment in time is “a day that will live in infamy” — not only for millennials, but for the world.