Five years ago, I watched the towers fall.
Five years ago, I learned what heroes truely are.
Five years ago, our world changed.
Five years ago, I saw the best and worst in humanity.
I awoke that Tuesday morning as my sister knocked on my bedroom door. I couldn't hear her clearly, she said something about the world trade center being on TV. Just like millions of others, I turned on my TV to see the black cloud rising from tower one. My thoughts turned back 12 years. On a July evening in 1989, I stood atop that tower and gazed past the Statue of Liberty to the lights of the New Jersey coast, wondering how many people were looking back at the tower that night. Earlier that night, I trembled with anticipation as I waited for the elevator doors to open. I've never been good with heights, and up to that date, the highest up that I had been (aside from the plane that took me to the east coast) was 26 stories up in a high rise in Salt Lake City. After spending about a half hour at the top, I lingered with my tour group in the courtyard between the two towers and marvelled at the sheer magnificence of the buildings.
I went to work that afternoon in shock. At the time, I was a photographer with a local tv station. The roads were empty, and the general hubub that permeated the newsroom on most days was somber. The anchors and reporters were gathered around the monitors which recorded the national feed. We were all quickly dispatched to our assignments. I don't remember everything I did that day, but I do remember going to the local aiirport to set up a live shot for the evening newscasts. Our competitors were also set up, and the usual banter we shared took on a somber tone. I remember feeling relieved that I was given this assignment, as it meant that I wouldn't have to do any interviews, too worried about emotions too near to the surface.
Since that day, my life has changed dramatically. I'm married, and my wife and I have a beautiful daughter. I thank my Heavenly Father daily for the blessings in my life. I look back today a little bit older and wiser, and still feel deep sorrow over the lives lost in New York, the Pentagon, and Shanksville. I heard a song today, titled "Have You Forgotten." I hope I never forget. May God bless the USA.
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