It's impossible for me to not have a heavy heart on a gut-wrenching anniversary such as today. So much has happened since September 11, 2001. It feels unreal to recognize that it has already been 15 years. Fifteen years. Surreal.
I was a freshman at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and was in the midst of an 8:00am German 101 class when the first tower was hit. The liberal arts dean came into the classroom and made the announcement. We all left the room quickly and gathered in the lobby of Morton Hall. This was before the days of social media, before Facebook Live and Snapchat. We all stood there, staring at an old TV atop an even older rolling cart, watching in horror as the news unfolded.
To be completely and ashamedly honest, some of us thought the plane hitting the North Tower was some kind of freak accident, perhaps an inexperienced pilot flying too low. Boy were we wrong. The South Tower was hit by the second plane as we all watched that grainy pixelated television. Then came the news of the Pentagon attack. Many of us wondered if Redstone Arsenal, the large military base near campus, was next.
So much has changed since that fateful day 15 years ago. The world is a different place now. The United States is an altered nation. 9/11 taught us unequivocally that the future is unpredictable and moreso that life is short. The tragedy also taught us that we must always remember. We must never forget.
There are some poignant words I've heard over the years which are fitting for the present day turmoil faced by this world. War creates 1,000 bin Ladens. And only the dead have seen an end to war.
Peace and mercy and blessings be upon you and yours. May God protect us all.