13 years ago, I was a 13 year old who had just started 8th grade. That morning I woke up, and had gone out and turned on the news like I normally did. What I saw I didn’t believe for a bit. What I saw was a skyscraper smoking after being hit by a plane. At first I thought it was some cruel prank or happening in some other country. Then I watched the second plane hit the second town live on national television. I had also seen the live footage coming in from when the plane had hit the pentagon. I was still glued to the T.V. as I watched both of the towers come crashing down all before 7:30 in the morning Pacific Time.

That was how my day got started 13 years ago. I don’t know how many school districts across the country shut down or sent kids home early that day. My school district was not one of them. I still had a full day of classes that day. I don’t remember much about what we did in most of my classes. I can only vividly remember two of my classes. In my math class, my teacher let us have a “down” day, and listen to the radio, to get more information, but in my science class it was class as normal.

At 13 years old, I understood what was going on, and wanted to know what was going on, and about all the developments and such. I was glued to the TV that day, and for days after.

When I had first tuned into that morning after the first plane hit but before the second plane hit, I was in disbelief. At first I thought I had come across some weird futuristic hypothetical doomsday scenario. Then the second plane hit the second tower. That morning I had seen the second plane hit, then had seen the plane hit the pentagon, and heard reports of a 4th plane crashed in a field. I had even seen both towers collapse before going to school for the entire day.

My, and everyone else’s world turned upside down that day. Life as I knew it had changed. It seemed like a world away but so very near. I know that I will likely have to explain what happened that day to kids of my own one day.

I have heard that for some from my grandparents generation compared it to being like Pearl Harbor all over again.

I had been in New York the summer before the 10th anniversary. I was by ground zero briefly and that made it all too real to me.

After my brother graduated from High School he enlisted in the Marines and had done a tour in Iraq. He was also stationed in Hawaii for most of the time he was in the Corps. I had gone and visited him once and had gone to the Arizona Memorial and had gone out to Ford Island and went aboard the USS Missouri.

Having seen the location of remnants of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor and having been by ground zero is sobering.

I never want to forget what has happened. I want to be able to one day teach my children that there are people out there with bad and evil intentions and do bad things, but we don’t let that define us or break us down. We come together, get through it and become stronger. If we forget then we lose that strength that we gained by overcoming the bad things in life.

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