It was a normal day. I remember walking off the school bus with my twin brother and reaching for the front door of the brick house. I was wearing a sunny yellow sweater and my hair in pigtails. The sky was the most beautiful light blue. Everything on the surface seemed normal. Yet, that was Sept. 11, 2001, when two planes hit the iconic Twin Towers in New York City.
CNN was blaring from the TV screen in the family room. Pressed in my memory is a scene of gray smoke and horror as a man was running from the debris, his voice audible, screaming and huffing. The scene looked like something straight from a blockbuster action movie instead of a tragic terrorist attack.
Years pass by and I have heard countless stories of people murmuring about where they were when the towers fell. Teachers all had interesting stories, their perspectives much different than that of the 7-year old girl coming home from second grade.
The September 11th memorial and museum serve as a testament to history and the stories of those who lost their lives. We will not and cannot forget.
In the 13 years since the attacks, the entire atmosphere has changed in the U.S.
War has become a part of our generation. Children grow up hearing about soldiers deaths on the local news. Presidential debates focused on the war and whether or not to send troops home.
Airport security is strict and people are distrustful of an entire demographic.
We live in an age where shootings and attacks are reported often on the nightly news.
Osama Bin Laden’s capture and death in 2011 was a hallmark in American history. Bin Laden’s death represented an end of sorts to terror. Most importantly, a sense of justice for the thousands of victims and their families was felt across the nation.
America is strong and resilient, yet terrorism exists all over the world, directed by different leaders and groups. Terrorists use brainwashing to entice others to join.
Most recently, ISIS, an al Qaeda group has used sheer terror to force its goal of an Islamic state across Syria and parts of Iraq.
ISIS uses public executions to elicit reactions.
James Foley, an American journalist was beheaded by the group on Aug. 19.The execution was posted on YouTube.
Approximately 3,000 lives were lost on that fateful day in September. These people were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands and wives with their own incredible dreams, stories and hopes for the future.
Their lives need to be respected and remembered. We are fortunate to live in a country with many opportunities, where the American dream thrives even in darkness and hope is a precious word.
Foley and countless others who have been murdered by the hands of terrorists will not be forgotten.
Communication majors learn in the first classes that the duty of journalists is to be watchdogs of the government and ensure truth and justice.
The call can be exciting and honorable. We have the power to make positive changes even in darkness.
Every American has a legacy to those who passed. What will you do?