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Reflections of 9/11

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amber Williams
  • 438th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Ten years ago, on September 11, I was in my 6th grade math class.

On that day, our class was interrupted by a teacher when she knocked on the door and whispered in my teacher's ear.

We put away our work as they brought other classes into our classroom and turned the television on the news. The teachers were silent as we watched the screen and the class was silent as we watched the destruction of what was taking place before our eyes.

I remember watching the burning remains of damage from the first aircraft that hit the north tower. We didn't know at that point what we were watching; we had no idea what we were watching was going to be so significant to our country. As an 11-year-old, I thought these things only happened in history books; this amount of destruction was only possible in other countries. I never thought something like this would happen to us, here, on American soil. I didn't know there were real tangible people in the world that wanted to take our freedoms away; I didn't know what our service members were protecting.

Then we saw the second aircraft crash into the second tower. We knew at this point what was happening was not an accident. Our classroom was silent as we watched. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, nor did I know how to feel. How is a person supposed to react when they see people jumping from a burning skyscraper?

To me, that day was a blur other than what we saw on the news. Later, I walked home from school and into the house and asked my mom if she heard what happened. As we discussed the events, I began to turn my attention to my dad who works as a truck driver and was away from home that day. I was thankful for the fact that he, although he was supposed to be in downtown New York City that day, wasn't due to mechanical problems.

That night, my younger brother and I turned on the television. Instead of watching cartoons or whatever else was available we sat and continued to watch the news reports. At that moment, I wanted to do something about it.

I always knew I wanted to be in the military. And like many others, my eagerness to join the military grew after September 11, 2001. It didn't occur to me I would be here in Kabul for the 10th Anniversary when I volunteered for deployment.

I am proud to be here, in Afghanistan, for the 10th Anniversary of a day that was so significant for our country. I was too young to do anything about the events at age 11 but now that I am 21, I am.

That day showed me that we, as a country, are not invincible. What we have, our freedom is vulnerable but what makes us strong is the willingness of our people to take the oath and fight for our country.

Our strength is not only from our service members but from everyone that contributes to our free society. We must be strong to protect our vulnerabilities and ultimately, our freedom.

With dedicated service members and citizens, hopefully events like Sept. 11, Pearl Harbor and acts of terror inside our nation's borders, will only be read about in the history books.