Date Submitted: 9/11/2016
The events of September 11, 2001 will always be engraved in my memory like it happened only just yesterday. It was the first time in my young life that I had ever watched anything so traumatizing. I was 9 years old and walking to my elementary school from my grandparents house just doesn't the street. It was like any other school day for me. The first thing that I noticed wasn't the same was when my best friend at the time came running up to me telling me the Empire State Building had exploded. Now I thought she was crazy and didn't believe her in the slightest. Granted at the time she was 9 and didn't really know what the Twin Towers were. She just associated every building in Manhattan with the Empire State Building. It wasn't until I had entered my classroom that I had felt the tension from my 4th grade teacher. She was acting really strange and seemed to be really fidgeting. It wasn't until after we had said the Pledge of Allegiance that she told us what had happened. She said that some bad people had flown two planes into the World Trade Center and then she turned on the news. The attacks of 9/11 occurred roughly around the same time as I was getting ready to go to school. New York was two hours ahead of where I lived in Utah. I watched as the Twin Towers collapsed on live television. I watched the reports coming in about the plane crashing into the Pentagon. And I watched as they showed the airplane that had crashed in the field in Pennsylvania. I may have been only 9 years old that day, but I still remember feeling the pain of watching my country get attacked so easily. To this day I still feel those same emotions as I watch the footage that gets played over and over again. Here I am, 15 years later, and I'm proudly serving in the United States Navy to help fight for my country and all that she stands for to prevent further incidents like this from occuring.
As America confronts these tragic circumstances, it is imperative that the situation is not compounded by expressions of religious or ethnic intolerance. The greatness of our nation rests on the exceptional diversity of religions, nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds which characterize its people.
Statement of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights