Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ten years ago, I woke up to the sounds of my roommate, Lori, and my suitemate, Ashley talking as they got ready for class. We were all freshmen at a small college in south Georgia. I was a soccer player so I was up way before them for practice and such most days. For some reason, we didn't have practice that morning so I got to sleep in.

I was pissed at how loud they were being. Not only was it my day to sleep in, but it was also my birthday. I just wanted five extra minutes! I tried to roll back over and go back to sleep, but they turned the news up too loud.

I didn't want to go to class. I thought since it was birthday I didn't have to go. Ashley was trying to convince me to get up when Lori pulled the covers off of me and started jabbering about some sort of plane and New York City. I heard her, but in my sleepy state I just didn't get it. Lori and I were running late to our nine am class (as usual) so as we were shutting the door, we saw the second plate hit on our tv.

My stomach dropped. I looked at Lori and she looked at me and we were both pale as ghosts. What was going on?

We didn't know what to do, so we headed to class. Our professor was standing at the door and the classroom was empty. He told us to go to the student center and hang out there. This was huge whatever it was.

I walked into the student center and saw the people gathered around the tv. No one was talking. That was really odd and scared me more than anything. College students are never quiet. One of the boys across the room looked up when we walked in and hollered out "hey! Happy Birthday by the way." Then we got the news about the Pentagon.

Everything got hazy there because all I could remember at that moment was that my Dad was flying that day. He's in the military and was headed to a meeting when all of this happened. I called my Mom and all she could tell me was that he was safe and that they had landed his plane somewhere but she wasn't sure where.

My heart sank. Being from a military family, I knew this was the beginning of something huge. I just couldn't wrap my head around it that day. My entire campus shut down for the day. We were told to call our families, make sure everyone was safe and just be together for the day. The Canadians and the other foreign students were solemn as they watched us try to process what was happening to our country.

Other than that boy, there was not another birthday wish. Even I forgot it was my birthday.

My world changed that day. I had always been a person that saw the best in everyone so it shook me to the core that someone could be this mean. I was terrified of what this meant for my Dad as he left to go overseas very soon afterwards. I was terrified to fly. I now looked at different groups of people with fear where as before I looked at everyone the same.

Colors now marked "terror levels". Searches were now hardcore at airports. Everything was different.

I don't think anyone will ever forget that day. I sure hope they don't. When I think back on that day, I remember the terrifying feeling in my gut, the panic as I waited for word on my Dad and the anger at how someone could do this. But I also remember how proud I was of my country. As the stories came out of rescues and the firefighters and such, I knew we would get through this.

And we have.

My Dad and my brother have been deployed since then. It's different from deployments before 9-11. They terrify me now. But I'm so proud of them for fighting for their country. I am so, so proud of all of our troops.

I'm a different person from the girl who woke up on her nineteenth birthday. My country is different. I love this place. I can't imagine living anywhere else.

Mr. P and I watched the 9-11 coverage in silence last night. I couldn't help but tear up as it all came back. As once again, I watched the day my world changed.

Someday I'll tell BG about this. She will never feel the raw emotion her parents feel because she wasn't there, but she needs to know. America needs to never forget.


Mike and Molly Spivey said...

I always think about you on this day - I remembered that your dad was flying that day - it has always stuck out to me!

I know you are proud of your dad and brother - courage and bravery at their finest!

Hayley said...

And we were sitting on the other side of the was late afternoon...and in complete shock.

I will remember that day for as long as i feels like yesterday.

Sending all my prayers and love to all of you in the US.

And Happy Happy Birthday!

Mandy said...

What a beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing with all of us!


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