Where were you 14 years ago? Yes, 14 years ago, the date our world changed in the United States.
Government buildings went under lockdown, even in our small rural area, and all eyes were on the television as smoke towered from the first and then the second World Trade Center buildings as we watched a plane hit it. And if that wasn’t enough, then they came crashing down, and news came of a plane crashing at the Pentagon, and then another in rural Pennsylvania.
I’m young enough I don’t remember Pearl Harbor. I know it was a significant attack on our homeland, and it sparked our entrance into World War II.
It changed the world for my grandparents, but even my parents weren’t alive then.
But I for sure remember Sept. 11, 2001. It was just seven months into my career as a reporter for The Mount Airy News.
I was either supposed to be off that day, or I had a late date because of a meeting, that part I can’t quite remember. But I was in the bed at my parents’ house where I lived at the time when my boyfriend (now my husband) called and said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. He was working, but had heard it on the radio.
I rushed downstairs to the living room and turned on the TV. And sure enough it was on every channel I turned to, the reports coming in of what the scene looked like from a distance and nearby.
While those civilians innocently at work in the towers tried to escape the terror that was happening, fire responders, police officers and firefighters were rushing to the scene and into the buildings to aid in saving them.
And then, unexpected by everyone, one tower and then the other collapsed into themselves. Innocent people just trying to do their daily jobs and responders of emergency response agencies died that horrific morning, and then our country went to war against the terrorist organization claiming responsibility for the suicide missions of its people.
For those students just now in high school, they likely only remembering seeing pictures of the Sept. 11 attacks or videos from news casts of the event. They, like myself about Pearl Harbor, don’t actually remember the events, and don’t know what the world was like prior to that day’s occurrence.
For those of us who do remember, it’s our job to make sure we thank those emergency responders — fire, medical and law enforcement — who protect even our small rural areas on a daily basis. They rush out the door of their safety and into our chaotic world not knowing what they will face or if they will return home to see their families.
This message of thanks is just a small way we can show our great appreciation and respect for what they do. They face the things no person should have to investigate, fight or live to see, and they do it because for them it is a calling.
So today, take time out of your day to thank the people around you that keep you safe. Remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, whether here at home or overseas in battle. And say a prayer for the responders, soldiers and their families.
Wendy Byerly Wood is editor of The Tribune and The Yadkin Ripple. She can be reached at 336-258-4035, [email protected] or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.