NOTE: This is a republication of a 2008 post, recounting the horror of 9-11, and the resolve of America in its aftermath.
We will never forget the brave men and women who lost their lives that day, nor the resolve that always brings America together in the darkest of times.
I see America, not in the setting sun of a black night of despair ahead of us, I see America in the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the burning, creative hand of God. I see great days ahead, great days possible to men and women of will and vision.
- Carl Sandburg
We interrupt this Experience to remember another experience on this solemn day.
It was a little before 9 am, and life was good. I was 9 months into my new job with the EPA in Atlanta, my wife and I had just moved into our new home in a small town west of town, and we were expecting our third child. One of my coworkers was talking on the phone, and the person he was talking to told him the news - a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. We all scrambled to call up CNN on our computers just to see the spectacle of it all.
Then we heard that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. And suddenly we knew what was happening. Our hearts sunk - we were under attack.
Then came the reports of the third plane the hit the Pentagon, and finally, reports of Flight 93 going down in Pennsylvania. We were in shock. I called my wife and told her the news. And then I prayed.
By 10:00 we were told we could go home if we wanted to - Atlanta has the third largest concentration of Federal employees in the nation working in a tall building with no buildings to impede a plane from crashing into it. Oh, and the world's busiest airport as well. I made my way to the train and began my hour+ commute home, lost in my thoughts. When I got home, my wife greeted me at the door and we just held each other close.
We listened to the news all day as the first tower fell, then the second. We heard the horror stories about those trapped in the rubble, and stories of the incredible bravery of the NYFD who risked their lives - and lost their lives, selflessly trying to rescue as many people as they could. Not to mention the brave people on Flight 93.
And then we fought back.
I don't mean we fought back by going after the Taliban and the other terrorists like we did. We fought back by showing our resolve. I remember Clark Howard, noted economic talk show host, talking about how as soon as the airports reopened he was going to buy a plane ticket just to show he would not be intimidated into not using air travel. I remember the Lowes commercial depicting a neighborhood now full of American Flags as a show of unity. And I remember people of different races, creeds, colors, and political perspectives, putting differences aside to show the world that we will not be intimidated.
It has been eight years since that day. I have not since that day watched the attacks again. I've never seen the movie Flight 93 and I probably never will. I really don't want to relive that day again.
But I will never forget that day, the darkest day I hope I will ever experience on this Earth. I will always remember those who bravely lost their lives, and their families. And I will always remember the American resolve to never, ever let this happen again.
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