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Remember where you were

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By Brandon Mattingly

Today is the day that we all remember where we were.

I can’t recall speaking to a single person who doesn’t remember where they were on Sept. 11, 2001.

I was in my eighth-grade language arts class at St. Charles Middle School, watching as the news unfolded. I still remember hearing that something terrible had happened, before seeing for myself when the TV was wheeled into the room from down the hall.

I remember the widespread feeling that this had to be an accident, only for the second plane to horrifyingly end that notion. I remember tears from those in the room and on television.

Most of all I remember knowing immediately that this was something I would never forget; that no one in our country would ever forget.

We didn’t watch 9/11 coverage in every classroom that day, but almost every class had a discussion about what had happened. Teachers reiterated the rarity of such a massive attack on American soil, but we all already knew history was happening before our eyes.

What we didn’t know was how much the attacks would touch Americans in every corner of the nation, and how we would come together in the months that followed.

Sporting events, particularly in New York City, became a refuge and an opportunity to stand together. In a true sense of the American way, a new World Trade Center tower now stands in New York, 12 years after the tragedy.

As it does at this time every year, the nation will pause for a moment today, remembering those who lost their lives. It’s also another chance to thank those who are fighting to protect the freedoms that acts of cowardice attempted to threaten 12 years ago.

No matter where you are today, remember where you were in 2001, because 9/11 is a tragedy that still hurts those who lost loved ones that day.

Then again, if you’re like my eighth-grade class, you don’t need any reminding.

Writer’s note: A 9/11 Appreciation Day event will be held at the Opera House on Main St. in Springfield at 7 p.m.