Twelve years ago today, I was a junior in high school sitting in first period History class. By the end of class, a TV cart had been rolled in for the class to be updated on what was going on. Something was going on. I'll be honest - I had never heard of the World Trade Center towers. I had never been to New York City. I initially thought it was just an accident.
But as the day went on, and more and more coverage erupted in between my classes, I learned more about those two towers and what had exactly happened. I learned it was not an accident. And I learned that one's safe bubble can pop in an instant.
What I remember feeling on September 11, 2001, is vulnerable. I remember a clear distinction in how safe I felt prior to and after that date. I recall being in shock at how and why someone would purposefully fly a plane into a building. And then another one. I have clear visions of watching the video footage of people jumping - on purpose - from the inflamed buildings. And I cried with them and for them.
I don't know if those images will ever go away.
In my sixteen years of life prior to that day, war was a distant happening that I only read about in history books. After that day, the TV cart was rolled into the classrooms so we could watch live footage of the battles airing from overseas in night vision.
Being in the armed forces was something friends did after high school knowing they would never end up having to actually go to war. After that day, the brave stepped up knowing full and well that they were making the utmost sacrifice.
We never thought twice about flying, traveling, roaming the streets. After that day, everyday actions seemed open to terror and extraneous safety measures.
I can only pray that the measures our country has taken since then have kept us safer, and I can only pray that Liam never has a story like this to tell to his kids one day.
Be extra kind to others today, friends.
Extra, extra kind.