What were you doing on September 11th?

In the early morning of September 11th, 2001, I was sleeping in my roommate Brittney's bed and dreaming about something safe and wonderful. Brittney had caught mono at the beginning of the semester and had consequently moved home to recuperate, but she left most of her things behind, including all of the blankets and pillows on her comfortable bed. I'd often fall asleep on her welcoming bedding during my late-night talks with our other roommate Cassandra.

Around 6:30 in the morning (perhaps a little earlier or later), our fourth roommate Jana burst into the bedroom to announce a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Centers. I remember rolling over in the bed at Jana's proclamation, wondering if she was just joking. I figured there was no way she could be telling the truth and I promptly went back to sleep.

A few minutes later Jana entered our room again and this time I took her more seriously. I fumbled for my glasses and wrapped a blanket around my body and joined her in the living room to watch the news.

I was shocked and dumbfounded at what I saw.

The television showed an enormous plane flying straight into the World Trade Center, causing red flames and black smoke to burgeon from the ailing building. I watched in horror as, one by one, the two towers burned and crashed into the ground, leaving only a cloud of brown haze and ash in their wake.

The rest of the day passed by in a blur. I attended a devotional up on campus to commemorate the victims. I called my family to make sure they were okay even though they lived a half hour outside of Washington. I thought about my friend Dan and about his dad who worked in the World Trade Center. I stayed up late to watch the same footage playing over and over again on the 24-hour news channels, hoping to hear of any new developments and hoping to hear somebody would be brought to justice for such an awful crime.

Finally, I understood what Americans must have felt when the Japanese attacked and bombed Pearl Harbor. Finally, I understood what Americans must have felt when their charismatic young leader John F. Kennedy was murdered. Now, I belonged to a new generation of Americans brought together by tragedy and unified in mutual mourning.

What about you? Where were you on September 11th? What were you doing? How did you feel?