September 11th Thoughts

Posted: September 11, 2011 in The Blog

At 8:46AM on this day 10 years ago a plane crashed in to the World Trade Center’s North Tower (1 WTC).  I was in a class called Document Formatting at the time, in Hawke Hall on the campus of Wayne High School, Huber Heights, Ohio.  My Mom, a secretary at the school at the time, pulled me out of class and in to her office, something that wasn’t ever a complete surprise on a normal day, but this was no normal day.

My Mom, her boss Mr. Doll, and I watched the events unfold for close to an hour before I left for my next class, Mr. B’s Inorganic Chemistry. There, the news of the attacks was raw and we spent most of class discussing what the implications may be all while looking for a television set to follow the devastation.

I don’t plan on waxing poetic regarding 9/11.  Everyone has already said everything there needs to be said on the subject.  I simply want to share my thoughts on the day itself, as I feel that’s how I best deal with things.

My senior year of high school was defined by 9/11.  One of the most important years of my life became synonymous with the worst terrorist attack our great Nation has ever experienced.  My generation became the 9/11 generation.  What Pearl Harbor was to our grandparents and the John F. Kennedy assassination was to our parents is what those terrorist attacks were to us, whether we liked it or not.

The historical significance cannot be denied.  I kept a copy of the Dayton Daily News each day for the seven days following 9/11, including the “Extra!” edition that dropped late afternoon on September 11, 2001. During the first month of my freshman year of college came the one-year anniversary and I still have the e-mail saved on my computer that was sent to everyone on campus by then-UK president Lee Todd to commemorate the occasion and declare a Day of Remembrance.  Needless to say, my class and that attack were forever linked.

An important byproduct developed from being the “9/11 Class”:  many of my friends and even more of my classmates joined the military out of high school, now to include myself (albeit it much, much later).  My friends and their families and now even me and my family, to a degree, all know what it is like to have made the sacrifices that come with raising your right hand to join the world’s greatest military on the heels of those terrorist attacks on New York City.

When 9/11 happened, I was a senior in high school.  On the one-year anniversary, I was a freshman in college.  And now, on the tenth anniversary, I am a Specialist in the United States Army stationed in South Korea, finally fulfilling an urge to serve that came with witnessing those horrible terrorist attacks, an urge my best friends Aaron (US Navy), Brandon (US Air Force), Adam (US Army), and Ryan (US Army), among many other friends and acquaintances, all experienced as young people looking to forge a career in the aftermath of that ominous day.  I think it was a bug that bit nearly all of us way back in late-2001 and the Class of 2002 spearheaded record enlistment numbers for the military.

The world changed forever on 9/11, and we have all been forced to make sacrifices as Americans, military service aside.  We all know where we were on that fateful day, so please feel free to share your story in the comments below.

Thoughts and prayers to those who are particularly suffering during the recognition of this anniversary.

We will, most certainly, never forget.

Above is a video of Jon Stewart’s monologue from the first episode of one of my favorite shows, The Daily Show, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  As a New Yorker, I think Stewart nails a very tough moment during the show’s return.  David Letterman’s words were also poignant in his first show back that September.

  1. Bo says:

    I remember quite clearly (who doesn’t) hearing a bunch of strange, inexplicable rumors coming out of first period, and then finding out the real deal in second period, Mr. Little’s business law class. The point I remember most was when a couple of my classmates were just generally dicking around, couldn’t seem to care about anything except there wasn’t really class that day. You know me, Matt, I’m far from confrontational, but in the quiet classroom (except the two or three jackasses), I declared “Hey, names, shut the fuck up and pay attention, this is serious.” The teacher didn’t bat an eyelash, just said “Listen to Bo, he’s right, you can shut up or I can take you out of here right now.”

    Then I went to trigonometry class and our bitch teacher wouldn’t let us watch, and that day no one learned about prime factorials or whatever, they didn’t care.

  2. Matt says:

    Great story, Bo. It seems very similar to my experience and I’m sure similar to that of many others who were in high school on that day. It feels almost surreal to me to reflect on that day and everything since now that we stand here exactly 10 years removed, it’s like it dictated the last decade.

    Thanks for sharing, man.

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