I always thought it was strange when people older than me could recount exactly where they were when they found out that Kennedy had been shot. And then 9/11 happened, and I understood how an event could leave an indelible imprint in one's mind.
That morning I was working at a local Italian restaurant in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. It was my mom's birthday and I remember thinking it was an unusually beautiful day. While I was butchering another latte and cappuccino, the Snapple guy came in with a new load and asked if I had heard about the Twin Towers in New York? He was usually a jovial guy so I thought he was telling me a joke, so I said, "no." He then told me that two planes had run into the buildings, and no one was sure if it was an accident or an act of terrorism. Again, I thought he was joking. I couldn't comprehend the fact that America had been attacked. As I tried to process what the Snapple guy had told me, my boss came into the restaurant and informed us that the Pentagon had been hit. Immediately, my mind went to my friends in D.C. and New York, and then to my parents, who were in Philadelphia that morning for a doctor's appointment. I wanted them all out of those cities as soon as possible.
For the rest of the morning I became the bearer of bad news. I'll never forget the hot cups of coffee people just left behind as they walked out the door to go home or to call their family and friends. Eventually, the governor shut the city down and I was able to go home. I'll never forget the ominous feeling I felt as I looked up into the sky and wondered if more attacks would come.
When I got home I finally saw the footage for the first time. As I watched the planes fly into the Twin Towers tears rolled down my face. I remember I felt a mixture of sadness for those innocent people, and fear that America's invincibility had come to an end.
9/11 was a day I'll never forget because it was the first time I saw for myself the carnage and sadness terrorism can bring. I only hope and pray that I will never experience another 9/11.