For some reason September 11th is hitting me harder this year. I was raised on Long Island about 40 miles east of the City and even though we moved when I was 9 I still feel like a New Yorker.
Nine years ago I was driving to work at the Cupboard Cafe in Dillard, GA and the radio announcer said that a plane had hit the Trade Center. Everyone assumed it was an accident, but they didn't know what was going on. I was walking into work when the second plane hit. We had several TV's in the dining room and they were on the news and turned up all day. One of the most difficult parts of my day was breaking the news to travelers who came in to eat and hadn't been listening to the radio. One man went white and ran outside to use his phone. Turned out his brother was in New York that day. Thankfully he was able to get a hold of his sister-in-law and find out he was alright.
I think that day changed how a lot of us thought about being Americans. We all banded together. Firefighters, police and volunteers jumped in their cars and drove to Manhattan to help and do everything they could. People too far away donated blood, arranged food drives, helped stranded travelers and did everything they could for each other. We came together. The entire nation functioned like a community, a family, thinking of each other. I wish we hadn't lost that. Why did we forget so quickly?