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Remembering 9/11

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Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 12:00 am

Associated Press file photograph.

When I was a kid, I always thought it was odd how so many people remember exactly what they were doing when they first heard President Kennedy was shot, and how so many of them cried when they heard. It was an important event, a horribly sad event, but these people were not related to him, so why was it so embedded in their memories? Now I understand.

I know people who lost friends or family in the terror attacks on 9/11, but I was not personally connected to it. Still, I remember. September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday also, and I was in my dorm room, working on a paper, when my roommate called from downstairs and told me to turn on the television. It was just after 9 a.m., and at that point everyone thought it was an accident, until we saw, minutes later, an explosion at the second tower. We didn't even know it was a second plane at first.

As long as I live, I will never forget our room becoming a communications center (we had a land line phone, and most cell phones stopped working when the north tower, with its cell antennas, collapsed) and comforting friends as they waited to hear if their loved ones had survived. I'll never forget walking downstairs and seeing people gathered in the common room, all watching TV together, or having the evening papers vanish in under five minutes, or piling that afternoon into a van to go donate blood, or looking out of my window in the dorms and seeing smoke rise from the city. I'll never forget the months of seeing flyers in every subway station, "Have you seen _____? Missing since 9/11," or the butcher paper memorials from all over the country and world showing New York some support.

As you go about your day, please take a moment to spare a thought or prayer for the people who were killed. No one should forget what today means in our national memory.

EDIT: I have one more request. Six years ago, 9/11 brought us together as a country, at least at first. Can we remember for just one day that we're all Americans, no matter what our religion or political leanings instead of defiling the day by fighting with each other?