The television blared in the bank lobby as a few people stood by and stared at the screen. Used to the normal quietness at the bank, I felt annoyed at the loud intrusion as I cashed my severance check from a job I had been laid off just a few days earlier. I gassed up the car and grabbed a bite to eat on the way home.
As I got out of my car, a lady ran out of her nearby apartment and started telling me about some planes crashing everywhere in New York. I nodded and walked into my apartment not wanting to discuss the day with someone obviously a few fries short of a happy meal. Never the less, I turned on the television and within seconds after the screen popped up, people started screaming as the first World Trade Center building collapsed, apparently live judging from the caption. The air went out of me like a sail and I collapsed into the chair. Thirty minutes later the other building collapsed and I knew that my world had been fundamentally altered and would never be the same.
I don't remember much of the details of that day other than I spent it all sitting in that chair watching the horror unfold. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon and another in a field in Pennsylvania. People were dying everywhere it seemed. I remember feeling alone at times, calling people and taking calls from others just to talk to someone else and reassure ourselves that we still weren't. I called my girlfriend in England to let her know I was still okay. That evening, I went to bed early, more exhausted than I would have been working a 16 hour day on the farm doing manual labor. I wasn't sure what the world would be like when I woke up.
The next morning I walked down to the gas station to grab a newspaper, since I had cancelled mine to save money while unemployed, and there was a line two blocks long of people filling up with gas. I wondered if I would ever be able to get another job if people were this scared here a thousand miles away from New York.
Now here we are fifteen years later and watching memorials of that day make me realize that those emotions I felt then are still present. The feel raw and oozing just beneath my skin. Those responsible were dead that same day. Others who helped plan it have long ago been killed or imprisoned. Yet I don't feel any better. We've been at war for 15 years now and nothing really has changed other than to increase the hatred of others against those that "lead" us. That girlfriend I called that day married me later and we have two girls, both who have never known a life without a war going on or bombs going off. They have always lived in a world where there have been terror alert levels, layers of airport security and people with machine guns standing outside of important public events. I was right back then that my world had changed forever. How I wish it hadn't for my girls sake.