9.11

6:56 PM

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Ten years ago, I was a freshman in high school. I was thirteen years old, played clarinet in marching band, and was taking Algebra II with a bunch of upperclassmen. That math class was where I was when I heard someone say that a plane had hit the World Trade Center, and while we all thought it was just a rumor, the computer lab we had class in provided us access to find out otherwise. Still, we didn't know much about what was going on, and went about our work. At the end of class, the bell rang to go to second block. I remember passing friends in the hallways, one of whom was crying because her first class had been watching everything that was happening on TV.

I went to health class, and the power went out. I can't remember why, but they didn't send us home early that day. Instead, we sat in that small, windowless room and talked amongst ourselves with no light other than the flicker from a few candles that sat on our teacher's desk.

The rest was a blur. I remember watching television all evening and seeing nothing but photos and video clips of the burning buildings. I remember ash, and rescue workers, and lots and lots of gray. I remember going to church that Tuesday evening, and holding hands with people who prayed and silently wept for the people in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania. I also remember wondering what on earth would happen next.

For the past week or so, I have been thinking about what I should write today. I wondered if I should find photos from my past ventures to the Ground Zero site, or the one print I took as a ninth-grader of the Pentagon just weeks after its attack. I wondered if anything I could say would stand out at all among the words, prayers, and sentiments that everyone across the nation is projecting today.

I realized that maybe it's all been said. We know what that day meant in terms of heartache and in terms of strength. We saw, on the most gigantic scale, how great our country is and how powerful our Creator has been to bring everything together. We have prevailed, we have grown stronger, and we are amazing.

God bless the U.S.A.

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