9/11 – Where were you when our nation came under siege?

Photo of Statue of Liberty in New York City taken November 23, 2001 - about 10 weeks after the 9/11 attacks.

September 11th marks the thirteen year anniversary of the terror attacks on our country. Thousands of innocent people lost their lives that day and our country lost it's innocence as well.

September 11, 2001 was a glorious fall day in Northeast Ohio. My oldest daughter, Jacqui, was home from school recovering from her wisdom teeth being extracted the day before. Around 9 a.m., my wife called telling me to turn on the TV to see coverage of a plane that had just crashed into the World Trade Center. As the minutes passed, another one hit the WTC, and then the Pentagon, and then Shanksville, PA. It was clear these were no accidents.

My daughter and I watched the coverage all day, wondering what was in store for the future. Could we expect major acts of terror every day? Fortunately, no. But unfortunately, our personal freedoms have come under assault.

Weeks prior to the attacks, my family had planned our first visit ever to New York City during the week of Thanksgiving. After 9/11, we debated whether it is was wise to go there with the possibility of more terrorism. We chose to go.

9/11 World Trade Center rubble in New York

9/11 World Trade Center rubble in New York still stood five stories high in November, 2011.

Our drive along I-80 through Pennsylvania to the “Big Apple” revealed our country's amazing patriotism. We saw the American flag proudly waving over several overpasses and displayed from the windows of countless cars. As we got closer to NYC, we stopped at gas stations and restauraunts where it seemed that everyone we spoke to lost a friend or relative in the World Trade Center collapse.

Probably the most breathtaking moment as we approached the city from several miles out was our first glimpse of the Empire State Building. I imagined what that skyline would have looked like if the Twin Towers still stood. It became difficult driving as my eyes misted over.

There were many other emotional moments as we toured New York. At Grand Central Terminal there was a large display of photos and memorabilia of loved ones lost during the attacks. There was the gut wrenching view of the rubble being cleared away from the Twin Towers – still standing five stories high and smoldering more than ten weeks after the buildings collapsed.

9/11 attack - seagull flies over New York Harbor

A seagull flies over New York Harbor with the skyline missing the World Trade Center Twin Towers.

Fortunately, there was one huge reminder of how great our country is. The Statue of Liberty standing proudly on Ellis Island was there to remind us that our country will always fight for our freedom. It was a wonderful way to conclude our journey.

So what memories do you have from the day the world changed forever? Please share them with a comment.