5/1/11 A Date to Remember
Ten years ago this September, I was sitting in my high school mass media class. I was a senior at the time. I already knew I was on my way to becoming a reporter. A little after class started my principal at Hinsdale South High School took to the intercom and announced to the school that a plane had hit the one of the Twin Towers in NYC. About 30 minutes later, we got the announcement that another plane had hit the other tower and both had collapsed. We were not allowed to turn on the televisions in the classroom and were instructed to go about our day. No one knew at the time it was terrorism or that Osama Bin Laden was behind it.
I can remember almost every detail of that day. I was wearing a black skirt and blue sweater. I remember gathering around the television when I got home with my parents and watching the airplanes slam into the towers. I remember thinking how it looked like a video game and that it couldn’t be real.
I went for a drive that night to the local Walgreens and I remember hearing fighter jets fly overhead. For the first time, I was scared. I kept thinking, you hear fighter jets fly over in war torn countries, NOT in suburban Burr Ridge, Illinois. Falling asleep that night was impossible.
It has been nearly a decade since that horrific day. I first learned of Osama’s death on Facebook. My email was literally pinging, alerting me to comment after comment. Ironically, I was sitting in the live truck wearing a black skirt and blue sweater. I know that just like 9/11, I will remember exactly where I was when this news broke. I hustled back to the station from Elgin where there was a brush fire and hit 6th street for reaction. There was a man who had an American flag draped around his shoulders….he told me he just couldn’t stay home.
Marching down MLK Blvd, I met a former Naval Officer. He was carrying a flag and in partial uniform. He nearly broke down when I interviewed him. At the same time, a car full of fraternity guys rolled up in a pickup truck and were honking and screaming, “America!”
All that I kept thinking in my own head was that Americans persevered. We never forgot 9/11 and we never gave up on finding Osama. He may have run and hid for a decade, but in the end, we got him. I think there is a huge message coming out of America tonight and that is if you commit such a heinous act and terrorize and kill innocent people, we will hunt you down and never ever give up. The events that unfolded after 9/11 have cost American lives and left behind heartache. I commend all of our military men and women who have sacrificed for our country, spent time away from loved ones while deployed and those who gave their lives so that this day of justice could come for our country.
I know I will always remember where I was on 5/1/11.
Where were you when you heard and will you remember?