September 11, 2001. I was a sophomore in high school in Kentucky. I remember it was a Tuesday because my high school did a special ‘club day’ the second Tuesday of each month. We basically got to skip class and go to our ‘clubs’ like FBLA, DECA, etc. It was usually a relaxed day. This particular day my morning routine was different because my boyfriend at the time was picking me up for school. Such a big deal when you are 15 ☺ On the way to school we got in a car accident; nothing major, but enough to make us late. Since it was club day everyone was still in homeroom when I finally got to school, as opposed to their first class, so I stormed in wanting to tell my friends what had happened. But when I came in everyone was watching TV. The first plane had hit. Everyone was explaining to me what was going on, but I wasn’t getting it. I had my own story to tell about my car wreck, which seemed so important at the time. I kept saying, "How would a plane get so close and accidentally crash into the World Trade Center?" Shortly after the second plane hit, and I began to realize that this wasn’t an accident.
The whole day was kind of a blur. None of the teachers really taught class, we just watched TV. I mean, what’s the point of teaching history when it was happening right in front of our eyes? That is all I really remember. I think I was still too immature to really understand what was happening, and how it was going to affect me one day.
Fast forward a couple of years. My brother is in college at Virginia Tech and gets recruited by the US Navy to be a Nuclear Chemical Engineer. He got commissioned in 2005 as an officer and proceeded to do 3 deployments in his 5 years of sea duty. Last fall, he transferred to San Diego for a 2-year shore tour, where we thought the deployments were over. Until we found out that he had been selected for a different kind of deployment. One where he would be supporting the Army in the war overseas. One that would require him to go to Afghanistan. On the ground. For 260 days. He left Friday, June 25, 2011. He will be there when the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 comes and goes. Before he left he called me to say goodbye and I thought, there are so many people that have had to do this over the last 10 years. Say goodbye, be careful, see you in 9 months. Mothers. Fathers. Sisters. Brothers. Wives. Husbands. Children. And it all started on that fateful day in September almost 10 years ago. I pray that September 11, 2011 brings with it a sense of patriotism and unity, like 9/11/01 did. I pray that all those who were affected that day, and since, continue to find peace, healing, and understanding as time goes on.
Katie King is Director of Special Projects
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