As we approach the 11th anniversary of our generation’s greatest tragedy, we all look back to that fateful September day in 2001. We all have vastly different memories, due to our different ages, locations, and connections to those tragic events. I was 10 years old, and all I remember is that I was in fourth grade, and there was an announcement over the intercom in my elementary school that there would be no after-school activities, all students were to go home. My teacher said that there had been a tragedy that had occurred that day and to go home and talk with our parents about it. I learned more about it from an older student on the bus, as they had seen the footage on TV during the day, and I ultimately got home and saw the news footage. However, being 10 years old, I didn’t fully understand.

For years, I was angry with my school for “sheltering” us, not telling us what happened that day, and not letting us see it first hand. However, now that I am older and have gained a broader understanding of the events of that day, I am not mad at all; I am deeply grateful. For those teachers to go about their day like nothing happened, knowing that one of the greatest tragedies in American history had happened, and the country literally seemed to be crumbling around them, took incredible courage. President Bush received a lot of flack for his actions in that school in Florida that day as well, but in retrospect, looking at all those actions, they took a tremendous amount of courage and strength to be able to continue on, all in order to not cause panic. Even though I and some others may have understood that day’s events as they unfolded, countless others would have been scared beyond belief, and a mass panic would have ensued in many schools. To all those who had to stand strong on that day for my sake and others: I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

We remember not only for the 3,000 who were killed by the acts of those with intentions to bring America to its knees, not only for the 343 firefighters who perished in the rescue efforts, not only for the countless other emergency workers who put their lives on the line for others to have a chance for those to survive; we strive to honor all those people who had to stay strong that day so that others would be safe and secure in America, and know that we would go on to fight another day.

On behalf of the staff of TheCollegeConservative, we would like to honor and thank all of those service sembers, emergency response personnel, police and all the other strong, compassionate people who banded together during and after 9/11 to keep America strong and safe. Your actions will never be forgotten.

We would also like to extend our deepest condolences to those whose lives changed forever when they heard their loved one was lost in the hours and days following the tragedy. You are all in America’s thoughts and prayers as we remember those events.

Edward Peichel | St. John’s University | @EdwardPeichel