5 years later…

I had just gotten out of the shower and had started to get ready for a day of classes. It was a beautiful Tuesday morning, about a week into my sophomore year of college at SNHU. In a week or two I was planning to join the college radio station. I had just started working my work study job for the second year in a row. Just one week in and it felt like I never left college.

At home, I would watch the morning news while getting ready. However, we didn’t have a TV yet, as that was coming up that weekend when my roommate’s dad visits. So my routine was still out of sync with my new reality of college.

As I was getting dressed, I happened to hear the soft ding of my computer receiving an instant message. I look over and it was from my friend Rico. I remember asking myself why he was sending me an IM this early…quite unlike him.

Then my heart stopped. It was about 9:05 am.

I had to read his IM again. Then three more times, each slower then the last. My mind was switching into overtime, as I typed as fast as I could. A second plane just hit the World Trade Center? SECOND PLANE? There was a first?

I quickly fired up my web browser and tried to hit any news site I could think of. CNN, MSNBC, FOX, BBC…all of them were taking minutes to load or were timing out. Instantly these web sites must had gotten 100-200 million hits in seconds, vaporizing them into dust.

I quickly told him I would be back and ran to the lounge on my dorm floor. Flipped on the TV and saw the burning towers. Stunned silence on my part.

A friend on my floor was walking by and asked what I was watching. I couldn’t speak and just motioned him over. He watched for a few seconds and let out a couple f-bombs in disbelief. He then ran out to find out who was around.

Within minutes we had a group of college students in the room.

I watched for a few moments, stunned at what I saw. I knew instantly that it had to be terrorism. One tower would be an accident. Two intentional.

I walked out of the room, somehow finished getting ready, and ran to the cafeteria. On the way there, I called my mom, as millions in the country were probably doing at that moment. She had heard the news too. I filled her in what I knew and she likewise, then we decided to call later.

I entered the cafeteria and was greeted with a group of 30 or 40 people just standing, watching the TV which had been switched from the Campus TV channel to CNN. I somehow managed to buy food, but I could barely eat it while I watched the TV, numb.

The rest of the day was a blur. I had a professor who had the nerve of having a class, despite what was going on. Of course it was a lab class, so no one did work…all we did was hit refresh on whatever news site had an ounce of bandwidth available for a text version of their headlines.

Five years later, I cannot think about how amazing the period right after 9/11 was. The heroics of those people directly involved that day. The thousands of American flags I saw while driving around.

I salute those we lost that day and those who risked their lives to save others. No one will ever be forgotten.