I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the morning of 9/11/2001. Me and our secretary at CCS were the only people in the office when I heard the news. All the news sites were crashing due to the heavy traffic so we walked downstairs to Rowe’s Jewelers and watched the news on a tiny 13″ TV in his store. The only way I can describe the feeling was shock and disbelief. It just didn’t seem real. I remember watching the first tower plume smoke when the plane crashed into the 2nd tower, and  then it was clear – this was no accident.

As the morning went on, we later heard of Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon, and Flight 93 which was brought down over Pennsylvania after the passengers revolted against the terrorists, and watched as the North Tower, and then the South Tower, collapsed killing thousands. As the events unfolded that morning, all we could do was pray, call loved ones to make sure they were okay, and try to wrap our heads around the magnitude of the attacks.

We were frightened, because we didn’t know how many other attacks had been planned or when they would occur. I felt safe in the small, unknown city of LaGrange, but I had friends and relatives in big cities all over the country. What was the next target? As the day  passed with no other attacks, we weren’t left with a feeling of relief. We were left wondering when and where would they strike again.

Although the immediate fear subsided, I think most Americans would agree that we have permanently changed since the 9/11 attacks. Some good, some bad. The attacks seem to have brought us together as a country–flags flew proudly all over America for months and many still fly daily that never did before the attacks. But we also have given up personal freedoms and dignity to fly, and it’s arguable whether we’re safer as a result. We fought a long war on terror, and saw Osama Bin Laden and many of Al Qaeda killed. But we lost thousands of American men and women in the process.

I used to think it was weird how people knew exactly where they were and what they were doing when we landed on the moon or JFK was assassinated… but now I know. It’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years since that horrible day… but I’ll always remember 9/11 and how it’s changed our lives forever.