Fifteen years ago, today, the world was turned on its head as the most powerful nation on the planet was brought to its knees.
I remember the 11th of September of 2001 vividly. I remember exactly where I was and who I was with when I watched an aircraft target the New York Skyline. I remember the shock and fear in my big sister’s voice as she called for my brother and me as we were getting ready for school that morning. I remember the adrenaline tweaking my system as my brother and I ran down the stairs towards her piercing voice. And I remember the shock, the confusion, that stopped my blood in its cold veins, as I set my big, childish eyes on the collapse of one of my country’s most iconic buildings. On the fiery demise of 2,996 innocent American lives. On the true American Horror Story.
I remember breaking news updates pouring out of every television and radio, in every classroom. I remember teachers, in shock themselves, talking us young students through the emotional and unbelievable events that had transpired on the other side of our country.
I remember the vision of humans, mortal flesh and bone, jump to their terrifying deaths to escape the collapse of the burning building in which they were trapped.
I remember the skyline suffocated under a blanket of shadow and ash, and the indistinguishable grey and black, tear-stained faces of all the victims and the first responders who risked their lives to save them.
I remember the dunes and mountains of concrete, glass, and steel, imprisoning innocent people in a hellish darkness.
There is a lot I remember of that nightmarish day. And with each year that passes, every year that guides me further from the confusion and fear and anger of the eleven year-old little girl I was, towards the woman I am today, I gain only more grave understanding of what transpired.
Of the importance of all the police, medics, firefighters, and flight crew–of all the first responders–who put their own lives in danger to protect and rescue the lives of others in need.
Today, the 11th of September, 2016, is a sobering reminder of the seriousness and importance of my own career as a flight attendant. Of the hundreds of lives I hold in my own hands every day. It is a reminder of the tremendous thanks and the gratefulness I feel that my own family is still with me. That my big sister risks her life every day in the armed forces to make our country safer. That she is still safe.
Today, I remember all the hurt and fear and heartbreak of the 2,996 Americans who lost their lives, and my heart goes out to all the loved ones who have lost.