I remember having just started 10th grade at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, NY. I remember sitting in my 2nd period biology class and hearing the announcement made from the main office over the P.A. system. "A plane has just crashed into the World Trade Center. We don't know if it was an accident or on purpose, but we will give you updates as we get more information."
A little while later on in the day- the second announcement came- "A second plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. We aren't sure of anything, but it doesn't seem to be an accident."
I remember walking through the halls of Ward Melville, and at one point even stopping in the library and the commons to look at the TVs and watch the footage of what happened.
I remember feeling sad, confused, and shocked. If I were to say that I remembered what I learned in class that day, I would be lying to you.
And I remember that on that particular day, the status quo was suspended. I felt as though I could have gone up to any student there, and asked them about their experience, regardless of who they were, or what grade they were in, and they probably would have answered me honestly. Call it the resiliency of the American Spirit, call it a group of people coming together experiencing a tragedy with a thing in common. or, call it a group of New Yorkers coming together- but on that day, in some way or another, we all actually did.
As the day went on, the towers eventually collapsed, and we as a nation stood helplessly watching in horror.
Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters perished on that day- leaving behind a broken generation of families that to this very day are still trying to find ways to pick up the pieces.
My heart and prayers go out to those families who are still experiencing that void each and every day, who went to work that morning with "business as usual" in mind, only to find out that it would be far from that.
I remember that evening, calling my father (who worked in the City) to see if he was okay. I was relieved to know that he was. I remember playing catch with my stepdad to try and take our minds off of what was going on and telling him that "it seems like the world just got a whole lot smaller," little did I know how true it would turn out to be.
I remember listening to President Bush address the nation that evening, and feeling even more sadness, knowing that September 11th would forever become a black stain on our nation's history.
I remember sitting in Church the following Sunday (I had recently become a believer), and the Pastor commenting that there were quite a few visitors that day.
I remember starting to wrestle with the question: "Why does God let these things happen?"
I remember the President telling us to go about our lives, to go out and get gas and eat out and go to movies and go shopping and live our lives, because if we don't, the terrorists have won.
My experience of 9/11 was a typical one of a kid who was born and raised on Long Island, being only 2 1/2 hours east of New York City. But for those who lost a loved one that day, their experience would change their lives forever.
My prayer for all of you this day is that the Lord God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would come to you and grant you peace and mercy, that you would ever feel his Spirit there to comfort you, to remember with you, to mourn with you, to cry with you, and, to be there picking up the pieces with you.
In Christian love,