Today marks the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. It’s hard to believe that 16 years have gone by, because I’ll never be able to forget where I was and what I was doing that day.

I was in 5th grade at Hillside Elementary in Sauk Rapids. I had just moved back to Minnesota from Sarasota, Florida and was having a rough time adjusting as the new girl in school. I had anxiety about being in a new school and didn’t feel very well on the morning of Sept. 11.

School had just started for the day and I was already in the nurses office. The school nurse at the time got a phone call from a friend who was telling her about a hijacking. I didn’t know what that word meant–I had never heard it before.  I remember thinking it was weird how panicked she seemed. I figured she was having some drama in her personal life. I continued to eaves drop, and realized that something bigger had happened, but I didn’t know what.

I went home sick that morning. When my mom got to school, she looked more worried than I’d ever seen her before. But, she didn’t tell me why. I got home and my dad was already home, and I remembering thinking it was strange that he wasn’t at work. The TV was on, and I had heard that word again–hijacking. I realized that something huge had happened.

I asked my parents what was going on, and that’s when they told me the horrible tragedy that had just occurred. Like most kids, I didn’t quite understand what it all meant or why anyone would do such a thing. I was sad, scared and confused.The way I thought about the world changed that day. It was no longer this safe, sheltered place that I had always thought it to be. It was cold, scary, tragic and full of evil people.

Over the last 16 years, like many Americans, I’ve worked hard to try to see the good in the world again. I try to remember the brave Americans that lost their lives helping their fellow Americans, or the amazing people that started helping out their fellow neighbor. But, the horror that happened on Sept. 11, 2001 and the way it made me feel is something I’ll never be able to forget as long as I live.

So, this weekend take a few minutes to pause and reflect on the last 16 years. Think about where you were that day and how it made you feel. Pray for the families of the people who lost their lives and do something nice for someone–even if it’s something small.

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