Sunday will mark 10 years since that tragic day on Sept. 11, 2001, when four planes crashed into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and in Shakesville, PA. The attacks took the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
Mostly everyone can remember where they were at that moment when the first plane hit the WTC's North Tower. I was in a pre-calculus class in my junior year of high school and a teacher's aide came running into the classroom and whispered something into Mr. Liu's ear.
I remember he looked a little panicked, but he didn't say a word and we continued with class. But when the bell rang, and we all escaped into the hallway, the South Tower was struck and within seconds everyone knew. We sat in silence in my third period English class and listened to news on the radio.
It changed my life forever. Although I was born in the U.S., I'm ethnically Indian. For a while, my family was nervous about backlash towards anyone who even resembled people affiliated with the attacks. My younger brothers were harassed in middle school, when students wrongly affiliated them with terrorists.
But, it's also made me more giving. I always volunteered in middle and high school, but I remember organizing a blood drive that year. I also helped with more military-related charities.
I grew up a lot, watching friends sign-up for the military and head off to war, while I went to college.
Everyone changed on that day. Whether it made you scared, or gave your strength. Whether a family member joined the military, or if you became a volunteer at the local veterans' organization.
So how has 9/11 affected you and your family? What do you remember from that day? What will you do Sunday to remember?
On Sunday, I will be at the in University Park, remembering the lives of five residents who lost their lives on that day.