This morning, I awoke to an alarm I'd set last night. It was 7:30—17 minutes before I had planned to watch 102 Minutes That Changed America.
I'd seen the previews for the documentary for weeks. The smallest fact that it was being shown at the exact time (8:47 on the East coast) the attacks happened ten years prior gave me chills.
The documentary was made of pure video footage from everyday people, who were in New York that frightening morning.
It started two minutes after the first plane hit, and jumped from video to video—some were newscasters, some were residents, some were moms, others were first responders.
It wasn't anything I hadn't seen before...but I found myself wondering about questions that had already been answered. What time does the second plane hit? Why do I remember those people running; why were they running? Oh, right the towers collapsed. Does the first tower fall before the second plane hit?
My mind had done me a favor and blocked the images from my memory that I was now trying to piece together.
About 45 minutes in, a camera is showing the view from an apartment window. The tower is smoking, the camera woman is talking with her sister...who sounds as if she is also in the room.
And then, she screams. The second plane hit.
And for the first time, I cried for September 11—today and ten years ago.
When the attacks happened 10 years ago, I was 16. I didn't know about Al-Qaeda. I just knew it was scary. And I remember seeing footage of other countries happy for our loss.
Since then, I've thought a lot about that day. On each 11th of September, I think about it. But not like today. Today, I cried.
Today, I wondered what it would be like to tell my child one day about September 11.
One of my editors wrote a column last week about how, for the first time, September 11 meant nothing to her—that it was just the day after September 10.
I could not disagree more. I hope that I never forget September 11, how it changed our country, how it changed me, and how lucky I am to be free.
God bless America.