What 9/11 Means To Me

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I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was walking down the halls towards my sixth grade science class. Something felt off but I couldn’t tell why. As I entered the classroom, the TVs were on and there on the screen was an image of the first tower burning. It was a sight that will forever be engrained into my mind. The teacher quickly shut it off as she didn’t want us to witness what was going on but wanted us to know that someone had attacked America.

The rest of the day was pretty somber, as our principal gave us a full update on what happened in New York, the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania. He ended the update by telling us to go home and hug our loved ones. However, when I got home, no one was there. My sister’s high school had received a bomb threat and my mom was dealing with that. The uncertainty over which part of our nation could be under attack grew, but our strength as a nation grew even stronger.

As I sit here today thinking about what 9/11 means to me, there are some words that come to mind: unity, strength, sacrifice, vigilance, bravery, perseverance, patriotism, and love. The attack on our great nation was terrible, but we did not let the terrorists strike fear into our hearts. Instead, it brought us together for one common goal of consoling one another, helping each other, and being strong.

The brave men and women of the NYFD, NYPD, and others sacrificed their lives in order to save those still inside the burning buildings. The United States pushed through the hard times and persevered to come out stronger, and better, as a country.

Tonight, I am competing in a physical challenge with my Army roommate to honor those who died during 9/11, those who gave their all to save a few, and the brave men and women of our armed forces who worked hard to bring justice to those responsible. From the hours of 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. tomorrow, I will be rucking with a 40-pound weight in my ruck (not including all my other essentials packed) for 20 miles, stopping to do push-ups, bear crawls, crab walks, etc. But as I go through this, I will remember that no matter how much I want to quit, there are those who sacrificed even more. The challenge promotes teamwork and unity, just like our nation should be doing.

In addition to this challenge, we started a campaign to raise money for Allies In Service, which helps veterans of the wars. They are a Dallas-based non-profit founded by Roger Staubach, which focuses on helping veterans and their spouses find employment, as well as resources for housing, education, and healthcare. If you would like to donate, go here.

So remember, today is not about hate for another person. It is about loving one another and striving to keep pushing. Justice will take care of the rest. We live in a great country that cherishes these values and no one, not even a few terrorists, can bring us down.

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