Thirteen years ago today, two thousand, nine hundred ninety-six people woke up not knowing their final hours on earth were in front of them. One of the most heinous attacks in American history was unfolding and they would be caught in the cross hairs. Each one walked out of their homes that day, never to return to their loved ones. Their lives were cut tragically and unfairly short. Their deaths would play out in front of millions of Americans who could only look on with shock and disbelief. America would never be the same. The strongest country in the world was being attacked and all we could do was sit and watch.
Everyone can recall where they were the morning of that horrific day. As I watched the live news feed and the second plane crashed through the World Trade Center, I got sick to my stomach. I had never experienced that kind of fear in my life. Many thoughts ran through my mind, the most prominent being "Is this the beginning of WWIII?" I thought of my two children and wondered if they would have a future or if this would truly be the beginning of the end.
Like most Americans that day, I sobbed. I was scared, angry, and unsure what would happen in the next 24 hours. I prayed numerous times throughout the day. I prayed for the families of those who lost loved ones, I prayed for our military and our leaders. The sensible part of me realized life as we knew it would definitely change. The word terrorist would become a daily part of our vocabulary and we would become a nation "on guard" at all times.
Watching the news footage for the next couple of weeks became the norm. I was glued to the television, watching story after story of the tragedy. The interviews with grieving families, the stories of the last phone calls, the stories of people who died trying to save lives. It was one of the most emotional experiences I've ever been through, yet couldn't stop watching. I felt like I had lost a loved one, just as the rest of the country did.
I love my country and take great pride in being an American. When I look back at the past 13 years, I'm reminded how great our country is, no matter the circumstance. The terrorists set out to destroy us, but they failed. They quickly found out we are a nation of people who come together in times of tragedy. They quickly found out we will protect our citizens. They quickly found out we have a military like no other, with men and women who put their lives on the line to defend the freedoms we enjoy. The lives lost on 9/11 and the lives lost since in the war on terror will never be forgotten. They will live on in the hearts of their families and of what I truly believe still is the greatest nation in the world. We may have political differences, but at the end of the day, we are Americans.
The cowardly, evil terrorists who are filled with hate cannot weaken our resolve. We will stand toe to toe, fight and win the war on terror. We are the United States of America today, tomorrow and for eternity. God bless those who perished on this day. May you look down and see we are keeping your memory alive in the hearts of all for a lifetime. I will never forget.