On this day, September 11, 2001, these were the moments we held our breath.
by Lauren Hurd
At 8:46 a.m. on Friday, you were on your way to work. You sat in morning traffic and flipped between podcast channels. You sipped hot coffee and made mental updates to your grocery list and weekly calendar.
At 9:03 a.m., You opened the browser on your computer and began combing through e-mails.
At 9:37, You prepped for your morning meeting.
At 9:59, You joined it.
At 10:03, you made small talk with co-workers, and at 10:28, you bid them to have a good day before continuing your own.
Such it is, on most days for most people in the United States. Minute by minute, hour by hour, the world stays right-side up as we go about our day. We move through our routines, and for the most part, they remain uneventful. We don’t think much of the seconds on the clock as they go by—if only to remind us of the next thing on our list.
We don’t hold our breath wondering who, where, and just how many.
We don’t go to bed knowing that tomorrow we’ll wake up in a world we can’t recognize.
At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, Hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into North Tower of the World Trade Center.
At 9:03 a.m. Hijackers crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
At 9:37 a.m. Hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
At 9:59 a.m. The South Tower collapsed.
At 10:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after an attempted hijacking.
At 10:28 a.m. The North Tower collapsed.
Twenty-two years ago today, terrorists belonging to an extremist group called Al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airplanes in a coordinated attack resulting in the deaths of close to 3,000 people.
On this day, September 11, 2001, these were the moments we held our breath. These were the moments we would learn who, what, and just how many. The times that determined if some of us would go to bed terrified, and if others would wake up at all.
Today, we allow our minds to wander back in time. We let ourselves look at grainy photos of our first responders. We watch the shaky footage of dust and rubble. We listen to the names as they’re called out at Ground Zero, one by one. For those of us who remember, we relive it all.
As the anniversary finds us again, we can see how the world has been altered in what we know of freedom, and what we know of war. We continue to feel vibrations in the aftershocks and more time passes, we are presented with the challenge of entering a world of people who never experienced the events of 9/11. We share the words “Remember the Fallen,” or “Never Forget,” with our children who never lived the fear, confusion, and disbelief of that day. They will learn in pictures, what many of us saw with our own eyes.
It is our responsibility now, to keep telling the stories. To remember the teachers with their school groups on their way to science conferences. The servers who came in early for the morning breakfast shift. The flight attendants who called in a disturbance and the passengers who helped fight back. The first responders who were off-duty but responded to the call anyway.
It is our responsibility to keep the details of what happened that day alive, so that when we say, “Never Forget,” the future generations will know why, at 8:46 a.m., they should close their eyes, slow their breath, and feel gratitude to live in a country with so many uneventful days. And though they might never know them, to honor the legacy of those who never got to see the 12th of September, 2001.
For more information, please visit https://www.911memorial.org, to learn of these stories, in the words of those who lived them.