I remember like it was yesterday, though I was only 9 years old. Our schoolbooks lay forgotten on the coffee table as we sat in the living room, glued to the TV and watched history unfold before our eyes. Shocked, confused, and scared, I wouldn’t fully understand what happened until years later.
Today, I understand. And today, I feel the heartbreak.
I remember the footage. I remember the newspapers. I remember trying to grasp the concept of our country going to war. My head, flooded with my grandpa’s battle stories and my grandma talking about collecting scraps of metal for the war effort, was ringing with questions. Would there be a draft? My own brothers were too young to fight, but what about my oldest cousin? My uncles? Why do Muslims hate us so much? Would they bomb more of our cities? Would they bomb our houses? Would we be able to fight back? Would we win?
I never dreamed that over a decade later I would see two of my best friends go halfway around the world to fight for my freedom.
I never dreamed that I would grow up to live in a country where that same freedom would be replaced with “security.”
I never dreamed that the foundations our country was built on could crumble like the twin towers did twelve years ago.
I never dreamed that one day America would no longer be a Christian nation.
Yes, today I feel the heartbreak. As a member of the next generation, I remember September 11, 2001 and my heart hurts when I see the status of my beloved nation, and it hurts even more when I look at my peers – our country’s future leaders – and wonder, will the Land of the Secure and Home of the Entitled ever be truly free again?
So many lives were lost, and for what? Are we actually winning this war, this fight for our freedom when we are more limited, monitored, and ignorant than ever?
I will never forget September 11, 2001.
I will never forget what it was like to be free.