I would like to reflect back on the day that has changed multiple aspects of how we live life today, September 11, 2001. I was in my senior year in the Landscape Architecture program at Kansas State University that morning. It was going to be just another day in which only a couple of classes were on my schedule, so the majority of the day would be spent in the landscape architecture studio. I say that it was just another day, but in all reality, prior to the events that changed everything, I was anticipating the opportunity to tell my family that I was engaged to be married to Theresa Scheips, who today is my wife and the mother of my two beautiful daughters.
At the time, my fiance was watching the Today Show, as she usually did when preparing for the day. She mentioned to me as I was about to jump into the shower that an airplane had struck the World Trade Center in New York. As I remember it, my reaction was shock and fear for the occupants of the building and the airplane, but little did I know that this was just a small part of a larger terrorist action on our country. I came out of the bathroom and then reality really set in for me. The TV mentioned that another plane had struck the World Trade Center and a plane struck the Pentagon.
My mind began to race at this point and I was suddenly overcome with fear for my parents who were visiting Washington DC at the time. I knew that the Pentagon was on the list for my father to visit during my mother’s meetings in Washington DC. It was my father’s first trip to Washington DC and I knew that he had a lot of excitement to see all of the sites in our Nation’s Capital. My immediate reaction was to call my parent’s cell phone. With everything that had occurred I could not get a hold of either of my parents. The entire day of September 11, 2001, I was full of nerves, fear, anger and sorrow. Classes for the day went on at KSU, but most of the student population had their minds in different places. I am not a man who believes that war and physical fights are an answer to our problems, but that day, I was ready. If a military recruiter would have spoken to me on that day, odds are I would have signed up. Many others actually did enlist that day with brave honor for our country. We will always be grateful for their service and for their families who remain strong in constant fear for their loved ones over sea.
I did end up contacting my parents later in the day, they were reassuring and a weight was lifted from my mind. They were staying just a few blocks from the Pentagon and it turns out that my father was still in the hotel when the attack occurred. My mother was as well, as I had anticipated from attending similar meetings with her in previous years.
To say that 9/11 is a day that I will never forget is an understatement. There are portions of the day that are blurry to me today, ten years later, but the day as a whole will always be clear. I will remain grateful for our emergency service men and women as well as our armed forces and their families. As a country, I believe that we will once again prevail.