15 Years Later

Tuesday, September 11, 2001.   

I was a freshman in college.  I had just gotten back to my dorm room after eating breakfast.  Pretty sure I had a Belgian waffle that morning.  Probably topped with chocolate chips and pecans.  Because, you know, when you're a freshman in college, you can do that.  I turned on the t.v. to finish getting ready for my first class that morning - Sociology - and remember the confusion surrounding the event that had already taken place.  The first tower of the World Trade Center had been hit just minutes before.  I walked next door to see if a floor mate knew anything (she didn't) and returned to my room just in time to see the plane hit the second tower.  My eyes were glued to the t.v.  I was stunned at what I was witnessing and horrified at what was happening just five states away.  The reality really set in as I watched people leap to their deaths from the top floors of the WTC.

From there, things are a blur.  Classes were being cancelled left and right.  Of course, my Sociology class wasn't cancelled because 1) the professor was kind of a jerk and 2) "we needed to carry on like usual" (his words, not mine).  I really don't remember much else from that day except that people were extra kind to one another.  We all had this horrible, horrible thing in common - our country was under attack.

In the days to follow, I couldn't stop looking at pictures and reading stories from that day.  There were online tributes galore.  I specifically remember one played to Enya's Only Time that I may have watched fifty times.  I went home that weekend to spend time with my family (although I can't remember if it was planned before 9/11 or not).  That was the weekend of the big rivalry Iowa/Iowa State football game, but as were all college football games that weekend, it was postponed.

People bonded together like I had never seen in my 18 years of life.  No one cared which area of the country you were from, which team you cheered for, or even the color of your skin.  Policemen and fire fighters were big time heroes and patriotism was at an all-time high. 

Craig and I traveled to NYC in the fall of 2011.  (I had also gone pre-9/11--in 1999, as a sophomore in high school.)  We visited Ground Zero and paid tribute to all those who were killed in the attacks just ten years prior.  I had just learned I was pregnant with Brantley a few weeks prior and I remember how hard it was to read "__________ and her unborn baby" etched into the walls of the tribute pools.  The Freedom Tower was under construction as the time, as was the memorial museum, but we could see an original WTC beam through the glass windows of the memorial.  It was all very somber and surreal.

I can't even fathom that it's been 15 years since that day the world was forever changed. Before 9/11, I had never heard of Al Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden.  Terrorism really wasn't an everyday word like it {sadly} is today.  And as as horrific as it was, I'm so glad I was a freshman in college and got to watch the event play out in front of my eyes.  It definitely gave me a greater appreciation for our nation and for this day now known as "history'.

I saw this on Facebook last night and it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

For the husband who phoned his wife to say I love you one last time before his plane crashed. For the wife who stopped in the stair well to call her husband and say I will love you forever. For the mommy's and daddy's who kissed their kids goodbye in the morning and died that day. For the policemen who rushed in to help the firemen only to die themselves. For the soldiers who have fought the battle ever since that day and lost their lives. We remember them all 15 years later and we will never, ever forget.

I know I will never forget.


  1. There just aren't words. We'll never forget.

  2. This gave me all the goosebumps to read. We are actually headed to NYC this weekend and going to visit the memorial. I am going to be a mess.

  3. I was in grad school in NYC and my school didn't cancel classes the day after the attacks. It was crazy.

  4. It is still so unimaginable - I was glued to my tv Saturday night watching what I've already seen a hundred times before, but I just couldn't stop. That blurb from FB brought tears to my eyes

  5. We won't forget...ever. My youngest asked me about it as she wasn't born until a week later. I relived that morning/day with her & told her how I didn't know anything until I got to my parents' as I took the day off of work to go car shopping. I watched as the second plane flew into the tower.

    My husband had a documentary on last night when I was about to go to sleep & I knew what one it was & when they started talking about the people that threw themselves out of the buildings, I could just see it again & started crying, even now as I type this, I'm getting teary-eyed. Such a sad, sad day. :(

  6. I remember exactly where I was when I found out as well. I was getting ready for my senior year of high school and listening to the radio like I always did when they started talking about it. I still went to school that day since at that point, nothing had been cancelled. We went from class to class but every class was just filled with watching the tv. Goodness.
    We will never, ever forget.

  7. Do you remember seeing the Old Capital burning from the dorm and the added confusion/panic that caused?! I also vividly remember going to The Loft at the field house to run, but all the tvs were broadcasting post-attack pleas of people holding pictures and searching for their loved ones. There wasn't a body in the facility exercizing. Something about witnessing the untimely demise of so many made living in the momment that much more important...and no one wanted to be at a gym.

  8. Most people can't remember what they did last week, but almost everyone remember exactly what they were doing on this day. We will never forget! And that last paragraph...I have no words at all.