EmmSome things simply cannot be forgotten.
Students at Utah State University and people all over the world will never forget the tragic day when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were struck by hijacked airplanes. This event killed thousands of people and changed the United States in countless ways.
As incoming classes join USU, students are less likely to have their own memories of 9/11. Aubrey Bird is one student who said she is unable to remember the events of that day for herself apart from what she has been taught.
“I think it’s very important we remember it as an event that brought America closer together,” Bird said. “It’s like how everyone is coming together during all of the hurricanes. Tragedy often brings out the best of people.”
People all across the country had to be united in this time of tragedy in order to help America rebuild. For people like Bird, this unifying of the world is an inspiration.
“They all came together and found hope in a terrifying time,” she said. “To me, 9/11 proves that we are a strong nation that can rebuild itself and overcome anything.”
Dillan Jelitto remembers his mom watching the attacks on the news when he woke up for school.
“The first plane hit and the reports were saying, ‘We don’t know if it was an accident or if it was intentional.’ Then the second plane hit and everyone knew it was intentional,” he said.
Ben Bills remembers his mother picking him up from school and telling him about the attacks. He said remembering what happened that day still makes his emotions run high.
“I was furious, and it has honestly been one of my motivators for joining the army,” he said. “To do my part to help prevent something like that from happening to my people ever again.”
Abby Slade said she was in the second grade in 2001 and had spent the morning getting ready for school. She said she remembers feeling unsafe, although she did not understand why.
“I heard a yell for me and my siblings to all go to the living room,” Slade said. “When we got there, my dad changed the channel and we all saw the second plane hit. The world felt like it was frozen in time a few months after that. I didn’t know what everything meant, but I did know there was a sense of uneasiness and alertness in the air.”
All that Reed Hepler remembers is his kindergarten teacher telling the class something bad had happened. She told the kids they needed to go home and tell their families how much they loved them.
“I went home, and my mom had me sit on the floor while she sat on the couch,” he said. “We watched TV, and for some reason, we watched burning buildings fall to the ground, over, and over, and over again. I was wondering why we were watching the same thing repeated and I asked my mom if the TV was broken.”
Many college students’ memories regarding 9/11 are similar to Hepler’s. Like most Americans that day, they were confused and scared about what may come next.
“I think it’s important that we remember 9/11 because we need to know that we are vulnerable, that we are not perfect and that we need to be vigilant,” Hepler said. “It also serves as a reminder of the tenacity of us as Americans and our commitment to remain free.”
Hepler said although a lot was lost on that tragic day, 9/11 also helped define America’s strength and resilience.
“Lives were lost, but we continued and still continue to thrive,” he said. “We are not perfect, our government is definitely not perfect. But the people of the United States, we are still free, and we can survive against any attack.”