“We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.”
-President George W. Bush (after 9/11 terrorist attacks)
Where were you on September 11, 2001?
Everyone remembers the beautiful clear blue cloudless sky and sunny conditions of that September day. Most remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news that planes had plowed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania … and the realization that the United States had been attacked by terrorists.
American flags were pulled out of storage to be displayed on houses, businesses, vehicles. Stores sold out of everything red, white, and blue. There was a sense of unity unknown in my lifetime. We were no longer Democrat or Republican or black or white — we were Americans.
My 90-year-old stepdad was 15 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, a day set in his memory. He was 75 when 9/11 occurred. He worries that younger generations have forgotten Pearl Harbor, and that 9/11 is quickly fading from memory.
Here we have shared some memories from friends and colleagues who wrote their thoughts from September 11, 2001….
Brian Schoeneman, Bearing Drift Editor, Centreville
There are two events in my lifetime that I will always remember exactly where I was – when Challenger exploded and 9/11. Today is the 9th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth. Each anniversary, I like to take a few moments to reflect on where I was, what I was doing, and how I felt. It was an exceptional time – one of those events that can never be recreated and which we will all struggle to explain to our children and grandchildren. But, regardless of the difficulty, I try my best to recreate those memories each anniversary, to help ensure that I never forget them. Where were you? Here’s my story.
I was still in graduate school. I was working my way through my master’s degree at GW in downtown Washington, DC, at the time, and as part of my benefits package, we were given free classes. I was an administrator in the campus housing department, and one of my primary responsibilities was as the fire safety officer for our branch of the student services division. Once every semester we had full fledged fire evacuation drills that were unannounced to the students, and we would observe the results and see where we needed to make improvements. This was a big deal, requiring cooperation with the University Police, our Risk Management staff, the local fire department (to make sure they knew the alarms were a drill), as well as my staff of student employees. We had just gotten to the first dorm we were going to drill and we had gotten everyone staged when people started gathering around the big-screen TV in the lobby. At the time, we were on the far edge of campus – less than three blocks from the White House. We saw the results of the first plane hitting the towers, but time was pressing and we needed to get the drills going.