Sep 11

I Remember-Sports Talk With Anthony Bonelli And Dan Valleau And More

16 years ago today, our country’s history changed forever. September 11, 2001 was a sunny day in Washington, New Jersey: the sky was as blue as crystal-clear ocean water. The events of that day however, made me sick to my stomach. No one has heard the story I am about to tell, not my parents, not any of my family members or even my best friends. Today, I want to share my story with all the people listed above, as well as with people around the world.

So why am I sharing this story more than a decade later? It has taken me this long to, and I use this phrase very loosely, “come to grips” with the events of that horrible day.

It was Picture Day at Warren Hills Regional Middle School, a day where students can show their personality if they would like. I decided to dye my usually dirty blonde hair red in the spirit of showing my personality, someone who is willing to be different. Anyone who knows me knows that I despise the feeling of uncertainty. Making the transition from elementary school to middle school gave me that exact feeling. I did not know what to expect. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Allegheny and Monongahela River flow together to form the Ohio River. All the students who graduated from Brass Castle Elementary School, Franklin Elementary School, Mansfield Elementary School, and Memorial Elementary School form the student body of Warren Hills Regional Middle School. Imagine one of the elementary schools listed above as the Allegheny or the Monongahela River, then imagine Warren Hills Regional Middle School as the Ohio River. Keeping this comparison in mind, you can imagine how overwhelming this transition might be for a 12-year-old.

On that tragic morning, after I got my picture taken, I was in my seventh grade math class taking a placement test. The test would give my teacher an idea of what areas of math I needed the most help with. In the middle of taking the test, I realized that the date was 9\11, instantly I felt sick to my stomach and thought to myself that someone needs to call 911 because something is wrong. About one minute later, Dr. Carl Weber, principal of the middle school at the time, came over the loudspeaker and said anyone who has relatives who work in the World Trade Center please come down to the library. A few minutes later, Dr. Weber once again came over the loudspeaker and told all of us the shocking news. At the time, we did not realize that this was an act of terrorism, but I for one was feeling very uneasy. After school, I went to physical therapy in Randolph New Jersey, this is usually a 45-minute drive, but the roads were barren, so it only took about 40 minutes to get there.

I slept in my parents’ bedroom that night, something I had not done in years. I wanted to be close to the people that I love the most because I was scared.

In the days and months that followed, there were several memorable acts of patriotism. These acts ranged from civilians donating money to various charities which helped the victims of the attacks and their families, to simply displaying an American Flag for everyone to see to show that Americans were going to come together in the face of tragedy. I am 28 years old, and I have never been prouder to be an American than during that time. Although it was a tragedy, Americans showed great patriotism.

In my opinion, one of the greatest things about the United States of America is our ability as a country to come together to overcome adversity. A few weeks ago, Hurricane Harvey devastated the states of Texas and Louisiana, but through that devastation I am sure everyone saw at least one person willing to lend a hand and help those in need. Once again, I was reminded of the unity that Americans showed in 2001.

There have been several occasions over the past few months where the American people have seemed divided, for example after the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia. It seemed as if people were fighting each other physically and verbally. Whether you support the slogan, “Make America Great Again, “or “Yes We Can,” or even if you do not support either slogan, we all still have one thing in common: WE ARE AMERICANS!

I began every one of my school days by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, as I am sure most schoolchildren did, or maybe still do. Just as a reminder, here is what it says, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Many times, I find myself dissecting words, meaning I ask myself what do those words mean to me? The Pledge of Allegiance, to me, means that we may be divided as a country at times, but despite our disagreements, we are still ONE NATION!

As we take a moment or two to remember the lives that were lost 16 years ago today, I ask all of you who are reading this to say two words to yourself, or if you choose in your prayers. Those two words are, “I Remember,” and it is my hope that by saying those words, you will remember that this great country thrives when we are UNITED!

1 comment

  1. Bob

    Thanks for the link! As usual, you nailed it! This was a difficult period for all, but I appreciated your thoughts from the “kids” point of reference

    Bob magnuson

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