I can remember clearly, as most do, the day that the towers fell. I was eating breakfast with my pastor at the Westside Cafe in Fort Worth, TX.
I had barely gotten there when he told me one of the servers said something about a plane flying into one of the Twin Towers in New York.
I didn’t think too much about it until I got home and turned on ABC to see Peter Jennings talk about what was happening.
Since it was a special news item on TV, I knew something was pretty wrong. I watched as he talked about it and I realized it wasn’t a plane that flew into it, at least not a small plane, but a jet.
Even more, it was an American Airlines jet which was based out of Fort Worth. By the time I got home, another one had hit the tower.
As I watched Jennings and his running commentary (he was always a professional), my eyes were astonished as one tower began to fall.
It was so sudden and unexpected that it probably took Jennings 15-20 seconds to realize what was happening.
It was at that point that I knew it was a major catastrophe.
Nothing was the same again, ever, but especially for the following few weeks. You see, I lived a few miles from the Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth.
Jets were always flying overhead because they were testing those planes. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin occupied space at the air base, so pilots were always testing the jets.
It was eerily quiet for weeks.
I never flew in an airline again. No idea if I ever will, but I have yet to go through the airport after all of those changes.
Friends, that was 21 years ago.
What is different?
Certainly, how we think about events, flying, and terrorism has changed.
Perhaps we are more suspicious of each other.
One thing I remember vowing to do in the days following September 11th was to live life like we always have. We can’t let them change our lives, make us afraid.
And, in spite of anything else that has happened since, we still have to live our lives without that kind of fear.
The weight of the events on September 11th became heavier when I realized that a girl from my hometown, Batesville, AR, was on the first plane.
I knew her family. We all did. I graduated high school with her older sister.
If you know anyone from the Batesville area, you may know that we change our Facebook profile pictures to her picture.
It is an attempt, in some small way, to remember her and to remember those events.
For us, she is the face of those events on that day.
Let us never forget. Let us return to a time, albeit brief, where we stood for each other regardless of affiliations, regardless of our differences, and remember that despite how we are different, we all believe in the great American Experience.
So, let’s live on September 12th the way we do in America, while yet taking the time to remember. Let’s honor Sara and all the others we lost that day.
Todd is a copywriter, content strategist, digital marketer and the Publisher for Conway Scene. He enjoys coffee from the local coffee shops, learning the stories of new friends, pro wrestling, and dirt track racing.