Where were you when the world stopped?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Like the line in the Alan Jackson song, I can remember exactly where I was when the world stopped turning on that September day.

There was nothing special about its beginning. In fact, I can’t recall a single moment before I caught a peripheral glance of the tower and smoke out of the corner of my eye as I walked past the television and into the break room. My first thought was, “Someone drank all the coffee and didn’t make a fresh pot.” My second was, “Did that guy just say a plane crashed into the Trade Center? How strange.”

I peaked my head around the corner to watch the special news report and I can remember thinking, “What a horrible accident,” as the coffee percolated. Then, I watched in horror as the second plane hit. I knew then it was no accident. I also knew right then and there that lives were about to change.

When a co-worker came by and asked what was happening, I told her about the planes. Then news broke in about the plane crashing into the Pentagon, and then there was word of United Airlines Flight 93.

“Oh my,” she said. “I wonder what will happen next.”

I knew.

“We go to war – that’s what happens next. This was a terrorist attack. Someone deliberately crashed those planes,” I said.

I’ve never been so sad to be so right in all my life.

As the 10-year anniversary of the attacks approach, we should sit back and think of how much we’ve learned. It’s been a lot. We’ve learned exactly who was behind the attack and what motivated their actions. We’ve learned how much those who were inside those buildings and planes, and ultimately, their families, have suffered. But most importantly, we’ve learned how Americans can unite for the greater good of humanity.

In the coming days, we’ll hear a lot more about 9/11 and the impact it’s had on lives. In the grocery store line, the faces of the children of 9/11 stare back. On the television, there are images of ash-covered faces and people running for their lives as the rumble falls around them.

In less than a week, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new site of the World Trade Center – a sure sign of how life continues.

We have come a long way since that day 10 years ago, but the true healing began as soon as people began sharing their stories of what happened on that September day.

And those are all stories that need to be told.

Where were you when the world stopped turning? Send your story to stephanie.nelson@andalusiastarnews.com.