Tuesday, September 11, 2012


today is a day that stirs memories of the terrible events that once defined this day.  i know i will never forget where i was when i first heard the news...

i was a junior at gettysburg college.  i had a 9:00am history class:  the history of the united states since 1945 with professor michael birkner.  as i walked across stine lake (not actually a lake, but a green area of the campus), i felt very present in the moment.  the morning was cool and sunny.  i passed dozens of other students on my way to class.  i could hear whispers.  panicky whispers.

as i settled into my seat, professor birkner entered the room.  he was so enthusiastic about history and always wanted to teach us a lesson about our great nation...

we all learned a way bigger lesson that day.

he announced to us there had been a terrible attack.

we all gasped.  we didn't know what to think.  we didn't even really know what to ask about what was happening.

we listened to the radio in silence.

once he realized we were not going to have a normal lesson that day...professor birkner let us out.

i rushed back to my room.  i couldn't figure out what all this meant.

i arrived back in my apartment, my roommates huddled around the t.v. trying to make sense of what they were broadcasting.

so many students at gettysburg college were from the new york city area.  parents who worked in the city.  some who lost their lives in the towers that day.

the phone lines were intermittent as hundreds of people on campus were reaching out to loved ones, praying for their safety.

i was stunned.  how could this be happening?

i tried to call my dad, who travels so much for work.  it took several attempts until i could get through.  one of my dearest friends, tia, called me to check on my dad.

he was safe, at work, in new hampshire.  i was so glad.

but i was so sad.

somewhere across campus were kids who just lost a parent.

somewhere in n.y.c., pennsylvania, and washington d.c., there were countless people who just lost the most important person in their lives.  their sister, father, daughter, mother, son, brother, uncle...

and somewhere in the world, there was someone who thought this was all a good idea.

but you know what?  9/11 is not defined by that person.  and 9/11 is not defined by the attacks.  while we will never, ever forget how the pit in our stomachs felt that ominous day, we will never let that violence define us.

because we are americans.  

we fight for our freedoms and so many have given their lives to protect that.

we stand up for what we believe in and make sure our voices are heard.

we work together in our communities to make this a better place to live.

we memorialize those who we've lost because they are our heroes.

we remember always the events of 9/11, but it does not define us.

we will never forget.  

god bless america.

{image via}

=) andrea

p.s.  tia, i'll never forget that phone call.  that is one of the most defining moments in our relationship.  i'll be forever grateful for your concern and your friendship...that day and beyond.

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