It is a day we lost nearly 3,000 family members, friends, and colleagues in the worst terrorist attacks our nation has ever seen. It is a day that crushed our sense of security, threatened our religious tolerance, and provoked wars in the Middle East. It is a day that rocked our world in countless ways, and for those of us old enough to remember, it is a day we will never forget.
I first learned learned about the attacks of 9/11 while sitting in Mr. Rowe’s English class at Cherry Creek High School. We turned on the television and watched in silence as the Twin Towers collapsed before our eyes.
Ten years later, the images of those attacks still give me the chills. They still move me to silence, and they still elicit many of the same tough questions I had asked my teachers and parents that day.
Yet above all of the sadness, confusion, and anger, the images of those attacks will forever ignite a flame of patriotism in my heart. 9/11 was a painful day for our country, but it also gave a new meaning to the American flag.
As we walked to the World Trade Center site to cover the tenth anniversary of 9/11, that flame of patriotism grew with every step of the way. Passing firefighters, flowered memorials, and flags, we finally arrived at the media deck at One World Financial.
There in the footprints of the World Trade Centers, we could see the memorial ceremony attended by President Obama, President Bush, and families of the victims who had bravely gathered to pay tribute on such a tough and emotional day. Tears were shed, moments of silence were observed, and names were read by those mourning the loss of a parent, a sibling, a friend.
Covering the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was a tough and emotional assignment, but as I observed the ceremony from our media location, I couldn’t help but feel that sense of patriotism rise. In the past decade, we have picked up the pieces of “Ground Zero” and replaced them with a memorial, a museum, and a new tower. What was once a place of loss is now a place of growth, and these new buildings seem to say it all: you can attack our country, but you will never destroy our freedom.