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There are very few moments that really stick with someone. Like you know the moment you realize you love someone, or the first look at your newly born baby. The rest fades into the past and you rarely think of them. They become harder to dredge up.

For me this one day sticks so clearly. I barely even have to draw up the memory before I could actually relive it. Not that I would want to, or anyone else for that matter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 had started like most Tuesdays for me. I got up prepped for school and work which I would go to later that afternoon. I was attending Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn Michigan. I had an English class that morning and our professor was late but eventually showed up. As class was winding down we started hearing commotion outside of the room. We figured another class had just gotten out early, no big deal.

I gathered my things and headed toward my car. There was an argument going on between some students. Another group of them were hovered around a phone or something. I just went to my car since I wasn’t sure what was going on. I got in and to my surprise my favorite country station at the time was playing an announcement from the President. I thought maybe the station got changed or something, so I flipped through my other presets and sure enough he was on every station. I stopped to actually listen and thats when I heard that there had been some kind of accident in New York City. That a plane must have accidentally struck one of the Trade Center towers and they weren’t sure how it had happened.

I drove home listening to the news people comment. I went inside and woke up my mom and we turned on the Today show. Not moments later the second plane struck the second tower. It was the most horrifying moment of my life. To understand at that moment that there was no way that was an accident. My heart immediately ached for all involved. I prayed that there wouldn’t be anymore loss. I’d been praying that there was survivors after watching the towers fall, knowing in my heart that most who were still inside wouldn’t make it. Then to hear of the plane that struck the Pentagon. Another plane lost in a field where passengers had taken up against the hijackers, sacrificing themselves so that more countless lives could be saved.

Where my family lived in Michigan was along one of the main flight paths for the Detroit Metro Airport. The silence in the days that followed was mind numbing. You never really realized how tuned to things you become. You tune out the things that become so familiar. Kind of how we as Americans had become to terrorist threats. We took our own liberty for granted. We watched while in other countries terrorists attacked thousands, killing innocents just for the fun of it. We never really grasped that it could happen here. That we were susceptible to the same things. Only more so because we had become complacent.

I look at how things have changed since then. People are flying again without fear. They find it so annoying that they have to be subjected to searches and have to be scanned before going anywhere on a plane. They don’t enjoy having their freedoms hindered, even if those things hindering them are in fact there to keep them free. To keep them safe so that we don’t have a repeat.

A lot of people around this time reflect, they say “I’ll never forget” but they do. They push away the bad things when it’s making their day not go as smoothly as they want. The push away the negative in light of happier things. I’m not saying we should dwell on these things but I think we need to learn and adapt to them.

I have a feeling that with the growing threats around us, we as Americans need to really wake up. Really remember what happened before September 11, remember why they were able to get to us. We need to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Not by fearing it will happen but by preparing for the next wave.

I will never forget what happened. I think of it when I fly. How quickly life can change. I remember it when I hear of people hating whole groups of people and openly shunning them. I remember it when I look at a fire fighter or police officer, I especially remember it when I look at a military member! People who sacrifice daily for our freedoms and who we often ignore.

I will never forget because to forget is to take my own freedom for granted.

May God Bless and comfort the families who lost so much.

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