Many people on the day of a horrific accident, special event in their history, a great tragedy, or an act of violence, vividly remember where they were or whatever led up to that event. On this day, 11 years ago in 2001, most everyone’s lives in the United States and across the world changed somehow without even knowing it. See, a ripple effect occurs when people aren’t even noticing. Economies are changed, monetary trading is changed, wars are started, lives are lost, and families will for evermore be transformed in a moment’s notice, and we must be prepared.
We have all heard the sayings: “Life is a fragile thing. Every day is special. Never miss a time to tell your loved ones how much you love them.” These are the sayings we have heard from elders, and we have taken heed at times. But in a world of security and complacency, which we have created especially in The United States, we tend to get content and forget that those saying are truer today than ever before. Here in the United States of America, we have longed to make a better life for ourselves. We have worked hard and have poured blood and sweet to get to the place we have. People have died, certainly in my family and others, trying to get to this land of opportunity so that they could create a better life for their loved ones. We work so hard so that we can enjoy, and in turn, expect that others will leave us alone to appreciate the fruits of our labor. This day, 11 years ago, we pay tribute and remember why that’s not always possible. September 11, 2001 – Where were you?
I was living back home after I graduated a few months earlier from college; trying to get my feet steady to move out and experience the world at the young age of 22. I couldn’t sleep the night before for some reason. I just kept waking up and waking up for no apparent reason. At the time, I had been working with the family business and decided that rather me not getting any sleep, I could be more productive if I went into the office and start work early. I couldn’t shake the feeling while I was taking a shower at 5 AM in the morning of something being strange. I had a haze around me the whole time I was getting ready. Now for those of you who don’t believe in God or the Devil or Angels and Demons, this may seem like a stretch. I do however, believe in them; and I believe on this day 11 years ago, there was a battle for our future. The cosmic conflict between good and evil hit a crossroads that day which would forever change the world. I am not a righteous man, I wake up every day trying to do good and asking every night for forgiveness. With that being said, I am very in tune with my faith and love for God. In hind sight, I feel that day there was some sort of ripple effect that woke me up and told me to get up and see.
As I was walking out of the door to go to work, my mother walked out of her room to catch me before I left. It was in the 5 o’clock hour sometime when she did that. My parents have always liked to have some sort of white noise on while they sleep. Usually they sleep with a 24 hour news program on low so that it can drown out the worries of the days past. This day, the news woke them up. She quickly told me to come to their bedroom and take a look at the TV. I walked in and saw one of the Towers burning. I felt ill seeing all those people waving their shirts and clothing out the window for others to notice them and get help. At first thought, and what I had mentioned to my parents, is that probably a pilot lost his bearings and somehow had a horrible accident. We all saw plane crashes in the news and I had assumed it was just another horrible accident that occurred with countless of bystanders. As I watched the whole story unfold for the next few minutes I had to say a little prayer for the people/families going through this. I watched for a while, and then I decided to leave. I had to go to work knowing there was nothing further I could do for this horrible accident thousands of miles away. As I took a step to leave my parents’ bedroom another plane hit the second tower. Terror struck me, as the realization occurred in my mind that this was no longer a random accident. I told my parents we’re under attack. Reports started flying into the news that people may be flying planes into buildings.
My skin went pale. I told my parents I was rushing to work to make sure nothing happened to our employees and our facility. We were manufacturing goods out of a large building right by the Ontario airport in Southern California. At the time my thought process was going wild without knowing what was going on. I was young and didn’t realize that these people were looking for high profile targets. But I felt our building we were in would have made a prime location for someone to cause havoc on (not realizing the politics of the world). So I got into my used, but extremely fast, Nissan 300ZX and sped off to work. While I was driving around 80-100 MPH on the 210 Freeway to get to work, I was listening to the news. The freeways were empty. All of a sudden I heard the Pentagon got hit. I drove a little faster. I kept thinking to myself, O boy, this is the start of something horrible. As I pulled up to our offices, I heard another plane was downed somewhere back east. As we were right by a major Southern California airport, I remember hearing the distinct sound of fighter jets being scrambled over our facility. Jet turbines have the disturbing effect of freaking you out when you don’t know what is going on. I walked around our facility making sure no one had left any suspicious packages or boxes around and making sure everyone was ok. In the moment I didn’t ever think of what I would do if I ever found something. My mind just told me I just had to make sure. Of course, there was nothing, but at the time my mind was racing and I didn’t know what was going on. The biggest worry was that all my co-workers were ok. Some of them hadn’t even heard what was going on.
We had a TV we turned on to listen to the news. That day, work was just not something that was going to be very productive. I was glued to the news. I watched in horror as I saw one of the buildings starting to buckle. People scrambled everywhere. I remember saying, “God, please NO!” Helpless I stood there, watching, as thousands of people lost their lives. People changed forever. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters lost to this act of violence. “Why? Why did this happen?” I thought to myself. I looked at my co-workers, now my brothers, who were watching the same coverage as I was. Their mouths hung open in awe, not believing what was happening. I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was surreal. Then, what seemed like an eternity, the second tower started to buckle. I placed my hands atop my head as if I had just run a track event. I couldn’t believe what had just transpired. I kept thinking to myself, but we’re the most powerful nation on the earth. I felt like the losing side of David and Goliath. What had just happened?
Today, September 11, 2001, seems dreamlike. However, I remember what happened vividly. It’s interesting that I don’t remember the daily routines of yesterday, but something that happened 11 years ago feels so real in my mind that I could touch it. Since then, we have found that the saying is true for groups and people around the world: Some people don’t care about anything; they just want to see the world burn. Unfortunately, the world we live in today has been radically changed by militants and groups wanting to cause pain. We TRY for peace, we DESIRE reconciliation, we WANT freedom from strife. We work so hard for our families not to go through the trials that we or our forefathers went through. We try to keep them sheltered, but we must remember and we can’t forget. The age old proverb will always hold true, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” So for those people: our families, our heroes, our firefighters, our first responders, the people who so bravely gave their lives so that another person could live… WE WON’T FORGET, AND WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER! God bless the USA!
Written by: Erick Kuvshinikov
Cell – (909)322-5363