Monday, September 15, 2008

Never forget

"The Howard County Police and Fire Honor Guard, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Police Chief Bill McMahon, and Fire Chief Joseph Herr march a wreath to be laid at a ceremony honoring heroes who gave their lives for the United States on September 11, 2001, during the terrorist attacks on our nation, in the Garden of Hope Monument in Centennial Park."

The tragedy of 9/11: the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center is remembered as a day Americans will never forget.

Last Wednesday marked the eighth anniversary of the tragic day and was filled with remembrance ceremonies not only in Baltimore, but throughout the country, too.

The event I shot was brief, but did the job of remembering local heroes who gave their lives for our country on September 11, 2001, during the terrorist attacks on our nation.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Police Chief Bill McMahon and Fire Chief Joseph Herr honored those heroes during a ceremony marked by a wreath-laying and the presentation of colors by the Howard County Police & Fire Honor Guard.

Following the event, I reflected on where I was eight years ago.

I was in high school, a junior sitting in one of my favorite teacher, Mr. Grove's, Drawing II class.

It was like any typical school day as I sat up front in the class half asleep.

Then it all unfolded in front of our eyes.

A classmate came running into the classroom. She looked puzzled, shocked. Then she announced that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. She had overheard someone on the phone relaying the news.

I didn't know what to think. Being in high school I often would hear a bunch of rubbish that was made up. But this wasn't.

Without delay, my teacher turned on the small classroom television, and the room got completely silent. Every station was broadcasting a live coverage of the attacks. Everyone's eyes and ears were glued to CNN.

Sadness overcame one student, as skateboarders yelled "Anarchy!" At this point I was still speechless as news anchors tried to solve the puzzling smoke and fire pouring from the ginormous landmarks in New York City.

Roughly 10 minutes later, still gazing into television, the other tower was struck. Horrific. I didn't know what to think, I didn't know what to say. It was the craziest thing I'd have ever witnessed live on television.

I knew what I saw. Yet wasn't sure if it was true. I saw the explosion. Was it really another attack? I didn't know exactly what it was.

I didn't take into account the lives that were instantly lost. I just felt a overwhelming sense of sadness and vulnerability. I won't lie. I was scared.

Too young to remember the details of the Oklahoma bombing and other attacks on the United States, I was worried about my state of safety as well as the rest of the country.

School was dismissed within an hour of the second plane crashing into the towers. My mother was waiting for me at our front door as I got home.

I was still confused. The entire day was so vivid, yet so blurry.

Nonetheless, it was a crazy day. One I'll never forget. One the country will never forget.


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