It was a Tuesday morning. I was a slightly homesick freshman at Peace College in Raleigh, three hours away from family. My T/Th schedule consisted of only Mr. Ritchie's midday math class which afforded me a slower start to my day. The 3rd Finley hall began to buzz and I remember the exact pajamas I was wearing as my roommate, suite mates and I gathered around our tiny box television to watch the events of this day unfold.
This same morning, my sister was set to fly out of Atlanta to begin her semester abroad and my mom was scheduled to fly from Charlotte to Atlanta to send her off. My mom made it through security and to the gate just as the second plane hit and all flights from that point on were grounded. My Aunt Le was currently in the air and had to make an emergency stop in Oklahoma City.
I knew my family was safe and I was extremely grateful.
We all wondered if classes would be cancelled, and while some were, Mr. Ritchie forged ahead with math like the persnickety professor he was. And a part of me was grateful for the distraction of class during a time of uncertainty and fear.
That afternoon we all poured into the college chapel for a special service and a time of prayer and reflection. If my memory serves me correctly, students would stand and say the name of a family member or loved one they knew had been in and around the world trade centers. They whispered the names of those they had not heard from who might be among the victims.
It was a day we will never forget.
Seventeen years later we still pause, even if only for a moment, to recall that day from our memory. To relive a piece of history. To reflect on a tragic event that brought us together as a united nation. It was a time where we were all proud to be an American.
My mind always goes to the families of those that lost loved ones. The 9/11 babies born months after the event to now single mothers. Those that received frantic phone calls from their loved ones who were passengers on the four flights that went down. Those that kissed their spouses and sent them off to work for the very last time.
Here in North Carolina our thoughts are divided today. Our minds our consumed with hurricane preparations as we prepare for Hurricane Florence to hit with "catstrophic" flooding and destructive winds in a few short days. But even among all of the hurricane hype, I can't help but feel a bit somber because of the weight that this day carries for so many.
For those that lost their lives and those that gave their lives. We Remember.