Neila Wiles Pippins
I remember 9/11 vividly. It was a beautiful morning and, since I was off that day, I had gone for a walk. When I got back and walked into the house, my husband waved me over saying, "Come here. Something's happened in New York!" By the time I got in front of the TV the second airplane hit and we watched the second tower go down. I couldn't believe my eyes. One could have been an accident, but two? Who could be doing such a thing, and why? We watched in horror at the smoke billowing up and people running for their lives. We listened as the news shared what they knew of the disaster. Then the Pentagon was hit, and later the plane taken down in Pennsylvania by some brave passengers. Through the day we listened to account after account of those who escaped the buildings and those who had loved ones still in there, and I cried along with them, praying for those going into the wreckage searching for survivors. For days, we watched the television. I didn't know anyone there personally, but somehow it didn't seem to matter. It could have happened here, in my hometown, or anywhere.
Story after story came out of the ashes of that fateful day. Stories of courage, of hope, of strength and love. I don't think we were black and white that day, African, Asian or European. I don't think we were even Republican or Democrat. We were all Americans, attacked by a common enemy. The country was drawn together that day, and in the days to follow. We weren't consumed by our petty differences then, we were joined together in anger at those who would do such a thing, and in pain and sorrow-sharing other people's loss as if it were our own. If only it didn't take a disaster of this magnitude to unite us. The people of 9/11 will never be forgotten, not those who lost their lives, nor those who gave their lives, and especially those who were left to pick up the pieces and go on.