And We Remember…

Ten years ago, I sat in my 8th grade Georgia History class, working on a group project about Native American cultures of pre-settlement America when Mrs. Black wall called out into the hall.  For us, it seemed like a regular day.  Hundreds of Army Brats from Ft. Stewart mingled with kids from the surrounding area and we shared a respect and honor of knowing those that served, still serve and will serve in military service. 

When Mrs. Black returned to class several minutes later, she informed us that Ft. Stewart, many of ours home, had been put on lockdown because of terrorist attacks in New York City.  We sat there in shock as she turned on the radio and jumped onto the internet. 

After lunch, as I sat in my pre-algerbra class, we were informed that the two towers of the World Trade Center had fallen after getting hit by aircraft, the Pentagon in Arlington, VA had received a direct hit, and a fourth airplane had gone down somewhere in Pennsylvania. 

I had no connection to the World Trace Center, nor did I even know that they existed before those moments.  I did know where the Pentagon sat.  A few years earlier, my father walked those halls on a daily basis.  I toured them.  Walked past the offices.  Saw the structure that was full of symbolism.  Five sides, five stories (above ground), five layers/halls. 

There was talk and rumors that spread throughout the day.  At lunch, we asked one another if Ft. Stewart, the base of the 3rd Infantry Division, was next.  We asked one another how buildings could collapse in the hours after the attack.  We heard people say that the President was killed.  That military bases were under attack.  That some group with a funny name claimed responsibility for these attacks. 

None of us knew and nobody was really telling us. 

As the school day came to an end and we boarded the bus to return home, someone asked how we were supposed to get onto the base if it had been put on lock down.  Before we hit the front gates, we pulled off tot eh side of the road, along side of several other busses that carried other Army Brats from several other schools in the area.  After what seemed like an hour, several police vehicles and MPs (Military Police) approached and escorted us through the gates of Ft. Stewart, Georgia. 

I arrived home to see a sight that I rarly ever saw.  My mother had brought out our small TV and had it on.  I knew then that this was something bad.  And as I did my homework in the other room, I heard voices speaking of terrorist attacks, burning buildings, falling debris and the loss of life.  I worked diligently on math problems and history readings. 

It wasn’t until that night that I saw the images that flashed across the screen.  It is something that, as a nation, we will never forget.  It is the scar that seems to never heal. 

Ten years later, it is still burned into our minds.  It still defines us, drives us. 

It is a day that will live on in infamy, when a handful of men sought to bring our nation to our knees.  We rose up from the ashes united and determined to come together.  We became a unified nation.  And today, we remember the dark that came before the light. 

In honor of all those lives lost, all those who responded, and all those who lost family, friends and loved ones.  May we never forget.

God Bless and PEACE

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