I vividly remember sitting in my medical skills class, a sophomore at Cypress Creek High School, when an announcement came over the intercom instructing every teacher to turn on the TV. The boxy television anchored to the corner of the concrete block interior of the room flashed on, and the image of smoke billowing from the upper levels of the World Trade Center hit the screen.
I remember confusion and concern; a quite classroom suddenly turned into a beehive of activity and chatter about what it was we were actually watching, and what it actually meant for America.
It was shortly after 9:00 am on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, and in several hours we would have a firmer understanding of what it would mean for the future of the country. We had been attacked, thousands upon thousands were presumably dead, and America’s innocence was a smoldering heap of metal and ash in Lower Manhattan.
It was 17 years ago today, and the images are still just as vivid as the morning the television flipped on in that high school classroom. Nearly 3,000 dead in attacks at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and on United Airlines Flight 93, where passengers heroically fought back hijackers and crashed a plane seemingly headed for the White House or U.S. Capitol.
More than 6,000 were injured, and today, the numbers of first responders suffering from illness directly related to their heroic efforts at Ground Zero continues to rise.
Today we remember those that we lost, those that ran into those towers to save others knowing that there was a possibility that they’d never come back out. We think of the families whose loved ones perished in these terrorist attacks, and continue to take heart that the strength of America in the aftermath of 9/11 united us in our darkest hour.