Friday, September 11, 2009

Reflecting 8 Years Later

That fateful day I was a senior in high school, on my way to dance practice in the morning, when I heard Rick Dees of all people, discussing a plane crash. I wasn't paying that much attention as it was 6:30 a.m. on the west coast.

After practice had ended and we headed into the locker room, our principal came over the intercom, which has horrible audio outside on our high school campus, and I could make out that something was wrong, piecing together the radio discussion, his scrambled message, and now a text from Scott I can remember clear as day on my red Nokia cell phone, "You see the plane crash?" It was then I knew something was very wrong.

I was the publicity commissioner in ASB and therefore one of my duties was heading up and reading the morning announcements. Going into the main office and finally piecing together the horrific details with the help of the administration was shocking. As a 17-year-old I had no idea how to deliver the usually fun and goofy announcements which included the Pledge of Allegiance as the first order of business. I will never forget handing the phone over to our principal and the utter shock and still relative unknown gravity of the situation at hand. He calmly related the events to the captive audience of listening ears, all staff, teachers and students.

The remainder of the day was spent much like the rest of the nation, glued to the television. Kerri was scheduled to come and meet me for lunch that day, but she couldn't get out of CSULB, as they closed the campus and there was major traffic commuting in and out of the school with the chaos of events and heightened fear. I was a TA for my 11th grade history teacher that year, who had a student teacher leading the class, and we both sat in the library completely transfixed by the events on television.

In my short life, I think I can safely say that day and the ones following were filled with hours of fear among US citizens-fear that our security blanket was not as secure as we had imagined, fear for loved ones caught in the turmoil, and fear for those protecting us and saving those loved ones.

I simply want to reiterate the mantra that has come out of the day, eight years later: I will never forget. To the families of those who lost loved ones: employees in the buildings, passengers on the planes, bystanders on the ground, and emergency rescue crews, I will never forget. I will proudly wear my red, white, and blue today in your honor. I salute you.

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