I was 12 years old when 9/11 happened, and to be honest, I didn't understand what was going on. I had never heard of the World Trade Center, and I couldn't appreciate the gravity of the situation. I remember hearing an announcement over the PA system and rushing to the cafeteria with my classmates. The school sent us home, and what happened next is etched in my mind forever.
I got off the bus and walked up the driveway to find my dad sitting on the porch with a transistor radio listening to the events unfold. My dad served in Vietnam as a Lieutenant Medic, but even he couldn't stand to watch what was happening. The TV was on in the living room (adjacent to the porch), and I remember a screen full of smoke and flames. With disbelief and sadness, my dad explained to me what happened, and I will never forget watching in horror the moments and days that followed.
My mom worked as a nurse in Boston at the time. When she got home that night, she told us that one of the nurses that she worked with lost her sister, who had been traveling on one of the planes that crashed into the towers. I don't remember which flight she was on, and I'd never met that nurse, but something about my mom knowing someone impacted directly by the attacks gave me the chills.
I recently found some old newspapers that my dad kept from the days following the 9/11 attacks. One paper is dated September 14, 2001. My 2001-2002 middle school yearbook was covered in the American flag. It included a memorial section near the back to honor local Rhode Island and Massachusetts residents who lost their lives that day. God bless their souls. God bless their families. God bless America.