Never Forget // September 11, 2001

Mrs. Ruff’s 5th grade math class in downtown Washington, D.C. That’s where I was when I found out we were under attack. It is amazing how profound an impact one moment in history can have on your life. I never want September 11th to just become another day to the American public. Even 14 years later, I always feel this overwhelming sense of sadness. My heart feels heavy and after all these years, I still don’t know how to appropriately remember the anniversary. I feel guilty for being anything but sad on this day. Having been born and raised in downtown D.C., it is hard to connect with most people, especially after moving up to Michigan, because they just don’t share the same memories or experiences as me. While life continues to go on, for me, it stops every September 11th. I feel as though I’m back in Mrs. Ruff’s classroom in downtown D.C.

I remember the teachers running in and out of the classroom. I remember the students crying because their parents worked in the Pentagon. I remember a  girl in my class sobbing because her Dad had a meeting that day in the World Trade Center. I remember being picked up from school early by my parents because the school wanted to make sure everyone’s parents were still alive. I remember my Mom and Dad trying to get a hold of my Aunt who was a flight attendant for American Airlines based out of Washington, D.C. and typically flew the D.C. to L.A. route. I remember not having school for a few days and being glued to the TV, watching the same images over and over again. I remember the fighter jets overhead at night while I slept. I remember the fear of NOT hearing the fighter jets and wondering if we were under attack again. I remember driving by the damaged Pentagon a few weeks after the attack and seeing the blackened hole where the plane hit.  I remember everything about that day so vividly.

My siblings and I all lost a bit of our innocence on September 11th. The world can be an evil place. Through all the destruction and horror and tragedy of September 11th, there came so many stories of hope and triumph and love. The United States of America isn’t perfect but man, am I proud every single time I tell someone I’m American. Or when I’m traveling and show that American passport. I am so darn proud of this amazing country. Because September 11th proved that nothing can knock us down. We will come together. We will persevere. We will overcome. And we will come out stronger than ever.

Today I remember all those who passed away on September 11th. I remember my friends who lost parents during the attacks.  I remember all of those who have fought for my freedom and continue to fight for my freedom. I thank my lucky stars every day that I get to call this great nation home.

God Bless America.

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  • What a beautiful tribute Jordan. I also remember that day so intensely. Everything turned upside down and things were never quite the same again. Thank you for devoting a blog post to this.

  • Oh my gosh Jordan. I can’t imagine being in downtown DC when all of that happened. I am so sorry for the fear you must have felt. I’m so sorry that you had friends who lost loved ones.

  • My elder daughter, Preuit was in NYC and saw the first plane. She was going to MOMA where she worked. When she got there they sent her home, and she walked 72 blocks to Soho. She stopped at a bar on the way home to call us and say that she was in shock but was ok. Our younger daughter, Jolee was working at the White House for Laura Bush. She and other employees were whisked out by the Secret Service and taken to a hotel in Washington. She called as soon as she could. We lived in Alexandria, Va., at the time, and that experience was truly the worst daytime nightmare I have ever had. Our family and the girls’ friends called all day, so I was on the phone most of the day. I kept asking myself if this was real!

  • Hi Jordan, You said it all. I was shaving at the time and had the news on TV which was to my back. I turned immediately and saw the second plane hit the tower. I was glued to the TV after that. Being a Navy town things got to jumping around here.
    I was ten years old when the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor and it was late afternoon when we heard about it. No TV and very few radios….a paper boy came down our street yelling “EXTRA,EXTRA,Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. I stood there and cried because I thought we were going to be bombed. My Dad assured me we were a long way from Pearl Harbor. You are right about this being a great country…..I went around the world on the USS Midway and nothing I saw could compare with the USA.
    Love You, Uncle Sonny