Remembering 9/11: 16 Years Later

 

There are few days in one’s life that they remember every single detail of. Where they were, who they were with, what was happening, and how they felt.

For New Yorkers, that day is September 11, 2001.

I was 3 years old when Islamic terrorists flew two planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. I was 3 years old when it felt like the world stopped.

My mom had come early to take me home from pre-school. At the time, I didn't understand what was happening. All I knew was that arts and crafts time was cut short.

As I got older and went through the school system, September 11th gained a new meaning each year. Early on, it was a day we sat in silence to remember brave and innocent men and women. Then it became the day where my teacher’s old workplace collapsed to the ground. It became the day that parents of friends who were firemen and police officers, became selfless superheroes. It then became the day that still shakes New York to its core 16 years later.

I could sit here and write about how awful the attacks were, how horrifying terrorism is, or how cruel the world can be. But I’d much rather write about the strength of New York. I’d rather tell you how people who were total strangers, carried those that couldn’t walk to safety. I’d rather acknowledge every single person who ran into those buildings, risking their lives to save others. I’d rather pay tribute to those who lost their lives, and send my condolences to their families. I’d rather say thank you, to all who defend our country each and every single day.

Since 9/11, New York has taken great measures to protect the beautiful people that call it home. Whether it was security measures or resources, it was all amplified so that there was no need to live in fear.

After a day that was filled with so much hate and fear, New Yorkers answered back with nothing but love. Love for our home, for those affected, and those that protect us. September 11th is a day where we put all of our differences aside to come together and stand against those who try to take us down.

Now, it is up to us. Yes, you and me. It is up to us to continue the tradition. To honor the fallen, and those who risked their lives to help save others not just today, but every day. It is up to us to spread peace, and encourage love over hate. It has now become our duty to carry on with the bravery, courage, and strength demonstrated by those who did all they could when faced with the deadliest terrorist attack our country has seen.

After all that we lost on this day 16 years ago, I’m ready for that challenge. Are you?

Life is truly too short. Smile at everyone you see, tell your family you love them, hug your friends when you can, and open your arms to all that life has to offer you. Because in the blink of an eye, it can all come crashing down.

New York, you have my heart. Then, now, and forever.