The 12 year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America seems like a random time to post a memoir of that day, but it occurred to me that I’ve never written it down. And, although the years have skewed the memory, there are parts of it that are still crystal clear.
I was a sophomore in high school. I was at marching band practice. it was a beautiful morning as many September mornings are in Nebraska. We were just coming off the field when a girl (One of the section leaders, I think) came running outside and told us a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center buildings. Practice abruptly adjourned and we filed back inside unsure what to think.
I was only 80% sure I knew what the World Trade Center was. It took me a while to comprehend the gravity of the situation. We made jokes about the situation that were probably quite inappropriate, but was the only way we knew how to react. We watched the amateur footage of the crashes again and again throughout the day. Every class had the news on. They started saying it was Osama bin Laden. I had no idea who that was.
When I left the building after school the sky was eerily quiet. Then we heard it. An approaching airplane. Our hearts raced for a second before we realized it was Air Force One, on its way to Offutt Air Force Base.
My account is no more noteworthy than most of the nation and it almost seems insensitive to even share on a day dominated by stories of those actually involved in the events. But we all remember.