Every person that was alive 19 years ago, should never forget the events of September 11, 2001.  We all have our stories of where we were.  What we were doing.  Who we instantly thought of and feared for when the attacks occurred.  While it can hurt to think about all of that again, we should.  Because we should never forget.

I was 22 years-old on that fateful Tuesday.  I worked nights at the time so when the attacks occurred I was still fast asleep.  Then I got the call from my roommate.  "Turn on the TV and put in a tape.".  Yes, a tape.

When I turned on the TV and my tired eyes and ears saw and heard what my roommate was trying to describe, I instantly woke up. Living in Eau Claire, Wisconsin the thought of an attack seemed absurd a day before.  But now, everybody from coast-to-coast was on edge.

My first thought?  I honestly don't remember.  I think I was numb at first.  Sadness.  Anger.  Fear.  Shock.  I really couldn't comprehend all of what was happening.  Then it all started to kick in.  The lives.  The impact on the country.  The impending danger our military was about to be in.  (At the time I had 3 family members in the military.)

I was working in radio at the time so my thoughts also went to the "what can I do" place.  What can I do to help at the station right now.  I was low on the totem pole, so the answer was pretty much you can stay out of the way.  Which I did.  But, I also stayed close enough in order to learn from it.

The days and weeks after 9/11/2001 we all experienced the feelings, saw the pictures, and watched the numbers of those killed in the attacks continue to rise. They say time heals all wounds.  However for America, while we can heal, we must never forget.  Anniversary after anniversary we need to see the pictures and remember those feelings. 

Another thing that we must never forget is to take the time today (or really any day) to thank a first responder.  Never forget that 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers were killed in the attacks.

Finally, while it shouldn't take a national tragedy for the country to come together, we should never forget that it did.  Do you remember that feeling of the country coming together?  It seems so long ago.  Of course it wasn't a utopia of everyone together.  But it was a hell of a lot better than it is now.  We worked together.  We helped together.  We sang together.  It was the most united these states have been in my adult life.  So while we must never forget the attacks, the victims, the first responders and the trauma it would cause some for life; we must also never forget that we as a nation can come together and unite.  When we do, it's a beautiful thing.  It shouldn't take another national tragedy for us to feel that again.

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NEVER FORGET: Images from 9/11 and the days after



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