Today is the 9th "anniversary" of 9/11 although I hate using the term anniversary for something as tragic as this - normally when you think anniversary, you think of a wedding or a specific memorable event that you reflect on fondly... not usually something tragic and unnerving!
I was a senior that year - my last year of high school had just begun about 2 weeks prior as was my 17th birthday. My school had tried something new that year called "zero hour" for certain electives, including band, which took place at 7:30am prior to school actually starting for the day at 8:15am. We got out of band practice and I was hanging out with my friend Luke, looking at some of the decorations in the commons that the cheerleaders had hung up to motivate people to come out to the football games as we weren't allowed to enter the main hallways until 8am and band was over a little early that day. We were over in the vending machine nook near the gym when our class Vice President came over and asked if we had saw what was happening on the big screen TV in the commons around the corner. We said no, and quickly took a look - there was the damage of 1 plane that had been flown into one of the towers of the World Trade Center, however no one knew if it was on purpose or accidental yet. It was pretty crazy!
I was taking 2 college dual-credit courses that semester, both back to back twice a week for my 1st and 2nd hours and on this day we didn't have them so I promptly got in my car and went home for a few hours until my 3rd hour class (seniors had open campus privileges back then). The entire drive home all the FM radio stations weren't playing music but rather talking about the tower that had gotten hit. When I got home, mom was glued to the news on TV. I went upstairs to try and take a nap but that just wasn't happening. I went in the den to watch more - by this time the 2nd plane had already hit and I watched as one of the towers collapsed to the ground. When I went back to school, my 3rd hour class had already been moved to commons so we could all sit and talk and watch the news as things happened. Throughout the rest of the day, the classrooms that had a TV in it were all turned on to the news and that's pretty much all we did during the rest of the day - no one could really focus on schoolwork.
I remember stopping in the office at one point - a few students were sitting in there waiting for phonecalls from family as they had siblings in the military and were waiting to hear word from them - if they were okay, if they were being sent off immediately, etc. It was pretty nerve-wracking!
I went home right after school and called my employer to see if we still had work today, as I was working as a caller for the nearby market research company, calling consumers at random and having them take a survey about different products. Turns out, we didn't have to come in, as they figured most people wouldn't want to be taking a survey today or spending the time on the phone for one.
My parents got word that the price of gas might shoot up later that day and the 3 of us each got in our cars and drove to the nearby gas station to fill up our tanks "just in case." We got there right at the right time as soon after we got there the station got swarmed with cars and people who had the same idea as us.
9/11 is one of those days that we'll just never be able to forget - one of my friend's parents on Facebook pointed out that 9/11 is basically the Pearl Harbor of our generation, which it really is, as it was an unexpected attacked on US soil.
Thank a solider today if you see one, as they're sacrificing their lives and time with their families to keep us all safe.