Two years ago today, the world as we knew it changed forever. Two years ago, lives across this country were touched by the tragedy. You didn't have to know anyone in the planes or the Towers or the Pentagon to feel sad, horrified, scared and sick. You didn't even have to be American; you just had to be human.
Two years ago, time stood still. Every moment seemed to last an eternity, but when it was over, it seemed to have happened so fast. Within seconds, planes, buildings and lives were gone.
Two years ago, a bright, sunny September morning was shattered, like a glass thrown against a wall. Not once, not twice, but four times. Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! It never seemed to end. Just when the dust settled over one horror, another took place. Then another, and another. It was overwhelming, unbelievable, impossible, and yet, all too real.
Two years ago, I went to work with a tear-stained face, a lump in my throat, and a dozen knots in my stomach. Two years ago, I could barely breathe, barely move, but sat trembling with horror and trepidation at my desk. I remember very little about that day. I think there was a meeting of some kind. Or something. I think I attended it. I don't remember. I don't remember sitting at my desk typing at my computer, but I must have. I don't remember driving home, but I obviously did. All I remember are the planes: planes crashing into buildings, a plane crashing into a field. Buildings on fire. Buildings collapsing. Grey, ash-covered people running, walking, crying. Stunned. So many blank expressions and empty eyes. Like zombies stumbling over the debris as they fled the horror.
The images from two years ago are forever burned into my brain. I will never forget the sight of the planes flying into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, or the Towers standing there against a bright blue sky, burning, then, unbelievably, collapsing. Disappearing forever from view. I will never forget the black smoke and flames rising from the Pentagon in Washington D.C.. Or the pictures of the smouldering wreckage of a plane in a Pennsylvania field. Those images will be with me forever.
Two years ago today, the world as we knew it changed forever. And, yet, we're still the same Americans we were the day before 9/11: we're still strong, still determined, still united, and still free. And we will never, ever forget.