I remembered very clearly being in my math classroom when we got word of the twin towers being hit. We watched it on TV. I remember that the TV had a VCR, that the seats were uncomfortable, that there was no computer in the classroom, and that I was so stunned that I thought it was a movie, and not the tall buildings I had once taken a field trip to see with my class just the year before. I remember watching the second plane hitting the tower, and I remember feeling this gripping fear choke me. This is real, I remember thinking.

The thing that scared me the most was watching the towers collapse. In my head, I imagined a stack of dominos falling down. And then I remembered that there were people inside that building, that there were people around it too. That firefighters and cops were going in there to help those people and that they had surely died. And when the rescues began, I felt sick thinking of people surviving all of that power and fire collapsing on top of them, and then staying buried underground, waiting and praying to be saved.

I won’t ever forget all of that. I felt like I was there, like I too was running from the wreckage, that I was suffering with the people who lost their family. I remember hearing about the brave passengers in the flight that went down, because the people on the plane felt that they should sacrifice their lives to make sure the terrorists couldn’t crash into another building. I send my love and respect to those they leave behind, and I hope that the lessons we learned are never forgotten.

And I remember too that I have a wonderful life to live, and the best way I can honor the memory of those people is to continue living to the fullest, to be a better person and to help the world as I can, and to always remember the blessing that is life. I will never forget that lesson.

Thank you.