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Telling Tales: Where were you when tragedy struck?

Becky Andrews and Angel Kane • Updated Sep 15, 2018 at 11:00 AM

I can tell you exactly where I was. And my bet is that if you are more than 30 years old, you can probably tell me where you were, too. 

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was home with my two little girls. My husband had left for work. I had the Today Show on the television. I could see the television from our kitchen, and I was washing our breakfast dishes. 

I remember stopping to watch Matt Lauer as he began to describe the picture I saw. There was the New York skyline and what looked to be a small plane had just crashed into a building. 

What a horrible accident. 

I grabbed my dishtowel and started wiping my hands as I walked closer to the television. As I watched the news unfold, I witnessed first hand the second plane hit the South Tower. The newscasters were in shock. 

Together, we realized this was no longer a freak accident. 

On Sept. 11, 2001, 2,996 people lost their lives. More than 6,000 people were injured that day, and Sept. 11 marks the single deadliest incident for the loss of firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States. And since that day, countless more lives were lost as our military continues to sacrifice their lives to ensure something like this never happens again. 

When the terrorists set this plan in motion 17 years ago, their plan was not just to kill as many Americans that they could. No, their plan was much more sinister than that. Their plan was to change us and thereby destroy us, to cause us to be scared, to have us retaliate. Historians say they wanted to provoke a new holy war. 

A few years ago, my family and I visited New York City and went to where the Twin Towers once stood. In their place are twin reflecting pools and the names of those we lost that day are etched in stone all around them. It was one of the most sacred places I have ever visited. 

I’m proud to say that while the towers may have come down on that horrible day, what I’ll remember more vividly is on that day, Americans rose up, came together and fought back.  

The privilege Becky and I have is that every week, this paper gives us a blank space in which to share our thoughts and our lives. Mostly, we share the good and the funny. Sometimes, we share the sad and the scary. But mostly, we try to share those things in our daily lives that make us all in this community more alike than different.

So today, we’d like to use this space to remember a day that many of us will always share. Seventeen years ago, lives were lost on American soil. There were men, women and children. They were of different nationalities, different races and different religions. They were innocent victims. 

That day began just like any other.  

That morning they, like you and I, got up to do what it is that we do every day. They got dressed, got their children ready for school, grabbed their belongings and headed out the door. 

That night, however, the American heroes didn’t come home. 

My husband came home. My parents came home. My brother came home. 

Hopefully yours did, too. 

Sometimes you wonder who will remember you when you finally leave this world. 

While I didn’t know anyone who personally lost their life in this tragedy, I know for a fact that 17 years later, there are those who miss them greatly still. There are families who are forever changed because of this tragic loss of life. They are not forgotten but remembered daily by thousands more who continue to live without their loved ones. 

On Tuesday, you and I likely spent the day doing what we always do and returned home safely that night to our loved ones. 

For those who didn’t and for those who, for the last 17 years, were without them, we remember. 

Comments? Email Angel Kane at [email protected] Becky Andrews and Kane are the brains behind Telling Tales, a weekly column in The Democrat.

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