Is This Real?

One morning I was sitting on the edge of my bed with my backpack on my back. I had gotten ready for class early, and had a few minutes to kill before catching the bus. This was unusual for me. I’m normally late for everything. I lived on the East Campus of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

When I turned on the television to wait for the bus, I saw a news anchorman and woman in front of an image of the Twin Towers in New York. My first thought was,

I don’t think I’ve seen this movie.

As the anchorman spoke, a plane flew into the side of the South tower. The top of the North tower was already smoking. The news people looked extremely surprised and anxious, and I thought,

IS this a movie? This has got to be a movie!

I stood there in stunned silence, staring at the screen, trying to grasp reality in what seemed like a surreal situation. I looked at my watch. The bus was arriving so I shut off the television, and headed to the lobby of the dormitory, Burr Hall. I still couldn’t grasp the reality of what I saw, and was questioning whether it was just a movie I hadn’t seen yet.

I got my answer, though, when I got on the bus for class. Every person on the bus had the same stunned look on their face that I did. That ride was the quietest one I’d ever taken to city campus, and when we arrived, city campus was silent as well. As I entered the building where my class was held, the same news report was on TV. I knew then it was no movie. A movie couldn’t have been on the same scene for fifteen minutes. All the students and staff were staring.

Terrorists from the Middle East hijacked American planes. One plane was flown into the North building of New York’s Twin Towers. One plane, the one I watched, was flown into the South Tower. Later, a plane crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth and final plane crashed into a field, thanks to the attempted rescue by a couple of Americans on board. I didn’t know any of the victims, but my heart broke. I felt like there was a heavy stone in my stomach. All of our hearts broke.

All of those people, not knowing what happened; just working as usual, then hearing an explosion and feeling their office building shake. All those people, running down several flights of tower stairs, but not fast enough to escape the collapsing of the floor above them. All those people, panicked by the unbearable heat and smoke, frightened by the rising flames, choosing to jump more than twenty stories to their death rather than stay in their sudden hell.

For weeks on the news we saw pictures of emergency workers. We had color TV, but all the images were gray from the thick layers of ash that covered the area and the people. Thousands of deaths, thousands of injuries, thousands of lingering health problems due to the massacre that occurred on September 11, 2001, on what is now know as Ground Zero.

A few years before, in high school, I bought a metal keychain of an apple with the New York skyline inside. In the skyline were the Twin Towers. I never thought when I bought that keychain, it would be a valuable piece of historical significance.

My heart still breaks as I think of this event. I tell this story so we, as a society, do not forget what happened. We must not be deceived. The people who carried out the attack were Muslim men. The Muslim religion is not one of peace, but of lies, control, and the killing of non Muslims. We must remember, educate ourselves, and choose cautiously who we trust and follow.

The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly. John 10:10

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