Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001?
I was a sophomore at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. I had just finished an early-morning class and returned to my dorm room.
With several hours until my next class, I flipped on the “Today Show.” The World Trade Center — smoke pouring from it — appeared on my 32-inch television screen. I didn't know what to make of it. But just moments later, I watched in disbelief as a second plane hit the south tower.
Then there was news that the Pentagon had been hit. And then a plane crashed in Shanksville, Pa.
Needless to say, I didn't make it to my next class. For the remainder of the day, I was glued to my television.
Only three months later, I traveled to New York City with many of my journalism classmates and members of the St. Ambrose choir, of which I was also a member.
This was a trip that had been planned for nearly a year. After the terrorist attacks, many backed out. But I saw this as one of the safest times to travel. Security would be tight.
It was also an opportunity to pay my respects to those nearly 3,000 people who had been lost. We took time to travel to Ground Zero, where firefighters and other first responders were working around the clock, smoke still rising from the ruins.
There, at St. Paul's Chapel, directly across from the World Trade Center site, we saw the thousands of memorials placed on and along the fence around the church. Missing persons fliers were still attached sign posts. It was incredibly moving and even now brings me to tears just thinking about it.
Twenty years later, the memory of that day and that visit to New York City is strong. It's a moment in my lifetime that I will never forget.
As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, we're seeking your stories. Where were you when you learned of the attacks? Do you know someone who was in New York or Washington, D.C., on that day? Were you moved to join the military to serve and protect our country?
We want to hear from you. Contact me at 402-426-2121 or email your story to email@example.com. A story will be published in the Sept. 10 edition of the Enterprise.