I am what a lot of people would refer to as a “youngun.’”

To put that into perspective, when the towers fell, I was six years old and in first grade, if I remember correctly.

I remember watching it on the little T.V. in the corner of the classroom with everyone else and the teacher and it was quiet.

That’s right, an entire room of five and six year olds so quiet you could hear a pin drop without being told or threatened. We didn’t realize the significance of what was happening at that age, but we understood it was terrible. We all had that pit in our gut that let us know what we were watching was very much not okay, to put it lightly.

That memory, is actually the most engrained memory I have of my entire year as a six-year-old kid. I can’t remember my teacher’s name, I can barely remember the grade, but I can tell you exactly how I felt and how the classroom acted watching the attack on T.V. I can remember feeling scared. I can remember the dread that came over me. I can remember the shock.

The attack on Sept. 11, 2001, on my country affected everyone.

Since that day, I’ve met people who were in New York when the towers fell. They’ve all described it pretty much the same. A horde of people, walking almost like zombies out of a cloud of dust and debris. They had blank expressions on their faces.

Since that day, I’ve met a lot of soldiers who joined the military because of the attack. I’ve met Soldiers who have lost their comrades.

Since that day, I’ve met veterans that have traumatic brain injuries, veterans that still have shrapnel in their bodies from a roadside bomb, a veteran who came back with a colostomy bag, veterans who can no longer live a normal life or have a normal job.

For a “youngun’” like me, “since that day” has been pretty much every day of my life that I can remember. There are kids turning 18 this year that “since that day” has been every single day of their entire lives.

So when I say that 9/11 is a Day of Remembrance, I mean it. It’s a day to remember all the lives lost on the day of the attack.

A day to remember the heroes who brought down those planes.

A day to remember all the people who couldn’t make it out of The Towers in time.

A day to remember those who jumped, choosing to take their death in their own hands instead of being at the mercy of those who attacked.

A day to remember all the first responders who lost their lives putting the lives of all the innocents above theirs.

A day to remember the death of every single soldier and civilian throughout this war.

A day to remember the effects of so many people who were affected that we’ve all met throughout our lives.

But for “youngun’s” like me, it’s also a day of remembrance for a time that we have not known. It’s a day of remembrance that there was a time before 9/11, a time before everything changed. A day to remember that were was a time where the “normal” we live by today has not always been the normal.

It’s a Day of Remembrance not just for all the lives lost and all the people affected but a day to remember the past. The past that serves as the light at the end of the tunnel. The past that one day everybody hopes to return to.

A day to remember the old “normal” that stands as a beacon that we may one day return to. A Day of Remembrance for the past and the present and for what our country is still fighting for.

Justin Blowers is a staff writer for The Southeast Sun and Daleville Sun-Courier. The opinions of this writer are his own and not the opinion of the paper. He can be reached at (334) 393-2969 or by email at sjblowers@southeastsun.com.

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