9/11… Ten Years After… We still Never Forget
It has been ten years since that tragic day that occurred in New York City, Arlington, VA, and Shanksville, PA, and I still vividly recall what I am doing that hot Tuesday morning.
As I get ready on my way to the Aquatic and Fitness Center in George Mason (University) for my morning workout and for Dr. Gertler’s Signals and Systems class at 1:00 pm at the Enterprise Building, my aunt was watching a morning show on TV and told me that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. I took a moment and checked out what was going on. All of sudden, another plane struck the other tower. My first reaction was, “what’s going on?” However, it didn’t hit me. Probably, I got used to the two failed coup d’et dat attempts to over throw then president (the late) Corazon Aquino in the late 80’s, and some of the bombings that occurred in the city while I was growing up in Philippines. In other words, I was able to quickly shrugged it off and proceeded to the gym before I miss my bus.
The Aquatic and Fitness Center is filled with people, but all of them aren’t working out. They are all glued in front of the TV watching the news. I, on the other hand, went to straight to the locker room, and dropped my belongings to start my workout. It is somewhat hysterical for me that I said to myself, “cool!, they’re all watching TV and I can use pretty much every equipment without someone bothering me.” Despite that, I still check out what’s going on in between workouts till it was announced that a plane crashed into the Pentagon. I said to myself, “this is serious.” I still continued my routine of lifting some weights, but I am checking out the news more and staying in front of the TV longer.
Until, the unimaginable occurred. The two towers of the World Trade Center, what was once the tallest building in the world, collapsed! Jim Vance of NBC-4 (local NBC affiliate) stating the words, “…what you’re seeing now is not a movie, these are not special effects… the two towers of the World Trade Center had collapsed.” When I saw those images during my rest, I instantly became one of those people glued into television as I say to myself, “please tell me that this is not happening…” Moments after, another announcement was made that a plane supposed to crash in Washington, DC slammed in a small town in Shanksville, PA. From there, I decided to end my workout and slowly, get myself ready to class.
On my way to the Enterprise building, students and some faculty members are talking about the tragedy, and some are emotional about it, and rumors of classes getting cancelled are looming. Even my classmates inside the room are talking about it. Dr. Gertler, waltzing slowly to the classroom, informed us that all classes for today are cancelled. So I decided to leave and head on to the Johnson Center (the main student center) to hangout with some of my buddies.
As I enter the Johnson Center (JC), the scene was very poignant. Students are camped out in front of a small TV screen at the University Press Center, and close to it is a sign that a grief counselor is available. All the talk out in JC is simply about the planes used as missiles by Al Qaeda, and the collapse of the World Trade Center. I hanged out in our usual spot with my buddy Yu-Ton, and after an hour I decided to go home.
My cell phone has rung a number of times from relatives and friends expressing their concerns since I live about 20 miles from the Pentagon. I felt so humbled about the phone calls. Even my emails are packed with concerns about our safety. I guess if Facebook is already the craze in 2001, I get wall messages like it’s my birthday.
A lot has happened in ten years, I graduated from college at George Mason after transferring schools from Don Bosco Technical College and Northern Virginia Community College. I also finished my graduate studies at George Mason, and given the opportunity to work for one of the biggest and prestigious consulting firms in the world.
Now, working for a very small consulting company, I still have never forgotten my own memory of the events of 9/11. Every person around the world have their own 9/11 memory. Quoting President Franklin Rosevelt’s speech after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December of 1941, “a day that will live in infamy.” 9/11 is the 21st century version of the Pearl Harbor. We remember those lives were lost, and the agony their loved ones have endured as they wake up every morning without their special someone. Ten years have passed, pain still remains… together, “we will never forget.”