It was on 9/11/01 that the world as we knew it was rocked by the bombing of the World Trade Towers.
I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was a salesman back in those days and had just completed taking an order from one of my customers. We were chatting when one of the employees burst into his office and breathlessly told us that a plane had crashed into one of the towers. He had a television in his office and he turned it on.
We sat there for the next couple of hours and watched the horrible events unfold. Employees would walk in, watch for awhile and then leave...some stunned, some crying and all unbelieving that such a thing could take place on our shores.
I didn't get anything else accomplished that morning. As I made my afternoon rounds, it was the obvious choice of conversation among my customers. Terrorism had hit home.
It could happen again.
My late father was an avid radio listener. He sat by his radio in the bedroom that day and listened to the tragic events unfold. I went to visit him after my work day was completed and we discussed the attack. I showed him the crashes on the computer. He expressed amazement that such a thing could happen. We talked about the Pearl Harbor bombing. We talked about the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We watched a special on TV later that evening that recapped the attack. We sat there in silence.
Stunned. Incredulous. Angry.
Later that evening I returned home. My wife and I discussed the events. She was at work as well when the terrorist attack occurred. She talked about a lady in a office she knew, who had a brother that worked in one of the towers. She hadn't heard from him. We found out later that he was at a corporate planning meeting somewhere else in Manhattan that morning and wasn't on site.
I think of the story that Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame's head women's basketball coach, tells. She had been recruiting in New England. She was scheduled to fly out of Boston that morning, on one of the planes that crashed into the twin towers. She had a schedule conflict and could not make the flight. Despite the intense rivalry between Louisville and Notre Dame, I cannot bring myself to cheer against the Notre Dame basketball team.
I remember my trip to New York several years later. Part of a football trip to Connecticut. Viewing ground zero. Going to the church where the first responders and volunteers gathered. Reading the notes, the details. Seeing the fire department patch in a case from my buddy Keith's fire department. He left Louisville a day after the attack to volunteer his services in New York.
I have a neighbor. A young boy. He was not born when the attack occurred. He has heard people speak of it. He asked me a very poignant question.
How could America allow this to happen?
I wish I had the right answer. Let us never forget that there are people who are constantly plotting and organizing for the downfall of our nation. They don't like our lifestyles, our beliefs, our religion and our politics. They will not rest. We cannot afford to, either.
As the years pass by since 9/11, the memories still remain strong. I pray that such horror never again taints our shores. I pray for the end of violence, wars and threats against our way of life. I hope that someday, all nations, all people and all philosophies can exist in peaceful co-existence.
Maybe I'm a dreamer...but, in the words of the late John Lennon, "I'm not the only one".