On September 11, 2001 I was three weeks into my freshman year of college.  I had just moved back to Georgia from the Mid-Hudson area of NY at the beginning of August to go to college .  I was still adjusting to life outside of the halls of high school.  I will never forget that Tuesday morning.

I had a 9:30 stat class every Tuesday and Thursday.  Since it was Tuesday, my alarm started blaring at me at 8:30 to get out of bed.  I hit snooze and slept until 8:40.  I finally dragged myself out of bed and drowsily climbed out of my loft.  I shuffled across my minuscule room to get myself a bowl of cereal.  Bowl and spoon in hand, I clicked on the TV and flopped onto the futon under my roommate’s loft.  I shoveled in a mouthful of cereal and stared at the screen in disbelief.  At first I thought it was some kind of action movie where NYC was getting attacked, but then I realized that it wasn’t even 9:00 in the morning and that I was watching a news show.  It was a little before 9 when I saw news footage of a plane flying into the first tower.  I was in total shock.  I dropped my spoon into my cereal and called my mom at work.  She had no idea about what was going on, and while I was on the phone with her the second plane hit the towers.  I started to panic.  T’s family lived only 1.5 hours from the city, along with all of our friends from high school.  My friend Vic was at college in NYC, and I had no idea where he was.  I couldn’t believe my eyes, and I was terrified.

I hadn’t heard anything about classes being canceled, so I made my way through campus like a zombie.  Everyone was in disbelief and in shock.  People were frantic.  In class we discussed what was happening, and the teacher let us all leave early because classes had been canceled.  I raced back to the dorms to find T.  Together we sat and watched footage of the plane crashes in PA and at the Pentagon.  We sat silently watching with horror as the towers collapsed.  The rest of the day was a blur.  Everyone was glued to the TV, watching and waiting.

What hit me the hardest that day was the thought of the families who happened to be vacationing in NYC and were staying in the Marriott located at the bottom of the World Trade Center.  T and I had visited Vic while he was checking out colleges in the city.  We’d stayed in that hotel.  We’d eaten dinner in one of the towers and hung out at the observation deck.  It’s eerie to think that we spent the weekend in a place that was destroyed by terrorists.  And those people visiting that day never got to go back home.

In some ways we have all been touched by the tragedies that took place that day.  Many people have a connection to someone who did not survive that day.  And many people have a connection to someone who was supposed to be in one of those buildings or on one of those planes and for some reason, thankfully, wasn’t there.  My government teacher my senior year lost her husband that day.  He didn’t work in the towers but worked in the area.  He was near the towers, and no one knows why, and just disappeared after they collapsed.

This morning I was listening to a tribute on the radio and couldn’t stop tearing up.  Clips from the news were being played from 7 years ago, and it was hard to hear the panic and fear in people’s voices.

Like others who have lived through a large tragedy, I will never forget what I was doing and where I was the moment I found out about the first plane crashing into the North Tower.

My heart and prayers go out to the victims of this horrible tragedy and to the families who lost husbands, wives, daughters and sons.  I will always remember.

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