I have never served in the armed forces, but if called upon, I'd be willing. I am incredibly grateful for their service and dedication to our country. September 11th, 2001 was a day that just like everyone else, I will remember for the rest of my life. I was in "shop class", working on a gumball machine that we were making out of wood. A lady from the office came in with a paper and handed it to our teacher Mr. Sanderson. Mr. Sanderson read over the recent news and told us that if we had any family in New York or Washington D.C. to go with the lady to the office. I had family in Virginia and Maryland but I didn't think anyone would have been at the Pentagon so I just stood there and really tried to comprehend what had just been said to us.
Unlike most of the class, I had been on a family trip to New York so I could vividly see the WTC in my head, as well as the Pentagon. Lots of kids were confused, saying, "Oh my goodness, the stock exchange is done!" and "There must just be money flying everywhere." I remember that kind of confusing me because it was pretty inaccurate and they were thinking of the New York Stock Exchange building.
Throughout the rest of the day, in every class we began the class with a little discussion and our teacher I feel like went over the severity of what was happening and if we needed to talk to anyone, there were people available to help us feel better.
On the bus ride hope, everyone was just speculating and yelling things about what we had heard had happened. None of us were that well informed. We were in middle school and smart phones hadn't been invented yet.
As a 13 year old with a random routine of watching CNN with my mom every day, I remember being incredibly scared the night of September 11th. I watched a little too much of the footage. My imagination ran wild. I had nightmares all night. I had reoccurring thoughts and dreams of what my future would be and it scared me. I felt so sad for all those that had lost loved ones that day. I felt like I would not live a normal life or complete any of the goals and visions I had already in my head for what my dream future would be like.
My perspective began to change over the next week as professional sports began to resume again and normalcy reappeared. The country united together and I remember how good a feeling that was to see our nation bounce back the way it did. It was the emergence of one of the greatest memories in sports history.
Thank goodness that 10 years later, things are a whole lot different than what my 13 year old self imagined.
I have a small place in my heart for New York City. Not only because I have family there but it has been a city that has always fascinated me and filled me with a different energy and excitement. I've had eight visits there, each one was different, but each one I have loved.
Jennika, Kage, and I got to visit the WTC site two months ago. It was the third time I had been back, but it equally touched my emotions and thoughts. I love our tenacity as a country to rebuild, to fight back, to unite, and to continue to stand for freedom. The new building they are building is beautiful. Obviously it is not complete yet, but when it is completed, it will definitely become one of my favorite buildings in the world.
Today is September 12th, a day late, but my love for America is with me every day. I think about my love for this country every time I take a HOT shower. Every time I come home and there is electricity. This sounds crazy, but I even think about it every time I drink a glass of milk! It is something that passes my mind every night as I kneel down and give thanks.
I love America.