There are certain events in your lifetime you remember very clearly.
I remember where I was when the Challenger space shuttle exploded, the library at Lynnvale Elementary School. I remember the days of news coverage when Ronald Regan was shot.
Those events happened when I was a child.
There’s one national event that sticks out in my mind from adulthood I don’t think anyone will forget — Sept. 11, 2001.
The day started like any other. I was working in Southern Indiana at the time. I had finished graduate school the semester before and was about to pack up and head home the following week.
I worked at Unique Management Systems, a collection agency for libraries. My friends called us the library police.
I got up like any other morning and went to work. But that morning wasn’t like any other morning.
I remember the receptionist telling us her husband called and said a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. We all thought that was odd and assumed it was a small private plane.
Then he called her again and said a second plane hit. It was then we all surrounded a television in the conference room. Not long after we turned on the TV we saw one of the buildings crumble to the ground. We all stood there, silent.
Like much of the country we were shocked. More reports came in about the other two hijacked planes.
The first thing I wanted to do was call home and talk to my parents. Funny the first instincts you have with those kind of situations.
In the days that passed, I remember being glued to the television, hoping to hear of miraculous rescues in the rubble. The stories of survival and loss that came from that tragedy still echo years later.
My campus at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was not far from Bowman Field in Louisville. Flights had been grounded for a while after the attack, but I remember laying in my bed and seeing the light of one single plane in the sky. It was something I never paid attention to before, but in that moment I thought it was odd.
I later learned it was one of the planes allowed to fly needed blood and other resources into New York City making a stop along the way.
In the next days I packed up and moved back home.
It was one of those moments when you were really glad to be home. Home was comfort and had a feeling of safety.
It’s weird to know that for many children now in high school that event will be something only in the history books and not something experienced in their lifetime. It doesn’t seem like it could have happened 18 years ago.
Not long after Sept. 11 I got my dog Baloo, a crazy lab that brought joy for the next 14 years.
We tend to always remember the tragic things that happen in our lifetimes. I’m glad this one was followed by a memory of joy, sweet Baloo.
As a nation, when that date comes around, there’s instant memory of what happened. The date that caused so many bad memories also holds good ones for my family. I have twin cousins born on that date.
It’s like most things in life, we move on to find newer, happier memories. But for those who experienced it first hand, I’m sure the wounds still are very fresh.