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Remembering 9/11

One thing you'll learn about me is that I love my country, the United States of America.

Now, this might have something to do with loving history in general, or that I just love the story of how our country came into being--all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It may be because my immigrant Great-Grandfather would say, "God Bless America" when he finished saying the Lord's Prayer in Armenian as we gathered as a family for "Big Family Christmas."

I spend a few moments everyday thankful for the opportunities provided to me. I also thank those who fought for the freedoms I take for granted--my grandfather, my step-father, my brothers-in-law, as well as those I've never met.

NY Skyline from Liberty Island, 1995.

Nineteen years ago, I woke up and turned on the radio. It was my day off from the Prudence Crandall Museum. The first thing I heard was that a plane had struck one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. It was 8:48 am.

I had a doctor's appointment that day, and since it wasn't for a couple of hours, I got out of bed, grabbed a cup of coffee and went to go watch the news.

Little did I expect to watch a plane hit the South Tower.

That's when I knew we were under attack.

While watching history unfold on the screen, I couldn't help but think about past generations and their defining moments. Pearl Harbor. The assassination of JFK.

The moments where, if you ask someone, they can tell you exactly what they were doing, where they were, who they were with, what they were wearing, and so on.

For the Gen X generation (that's me), many of us would have said, either when the Challenger space shuttle exploded, or when the first Gulf War broke out. These events happened when we were teenagers/young adults.

That was before 9/11.

Anyway, I'm writing this because as we (hopefully) remember what happened, I pray we don't forget what happened that day.

Partly because of all those who perished, but also because of how we came together as a nation for a short period of time. It has nothing to do with wanting justice.

I worry about forgetting because it happens. All the time.

Maybe because my ancestors lived through a genocide, and no one knows about it. Maybe because in 1939, Adolph Hitler used the fact that no one remembered, to justify what he was about to do to in Europe.

"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

I will remember.

I will take a moment of silence at 8:46 am, when the first plane struck the WTC north tower. And again, at 9:03 when the south tower was hit.

I will take a moment at 9:37 when the Pentagon was attacked.

At 9:59, I will pause to remember when the south tower collapsed.

I will remember the the brave men and women, who fought back, and crashed their plane in a Pennsylvania field, so the terrorists target would not be hit. "Let's Roll," at 10:03.

And lastly, I will stop at 10:37 to remember when the north tower fell.

My kids will be in school. My husband and I will be at work. When we all get home, I will make sure we sit down as a family and talk about what happened all those years ago. I will make sure my kids know what happened, and who did it, and why. We won't talk about if it was justified, or not. We will just remember the almost 3000 people who died. The businessmen, the moms and kids. The police and firefighters. Those who were just going to work, just like any other Tuesday morning. Those who were traveling to visit friends and family. All of them.

Photo via Getty Images

I hope you will too, even just for a moment.

Please don't forget. God Bless America.

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