September 11, 2001.
9:00 pm, Philippine Time.
I was only 11 at that time. I was about to go to sleep when a disturbing looped video of a burning skyscraper caught my attention. I was really curious and decided to watch CNN instead. My parents were watching it too, so I asked, "Pa, ano yan? Trailer ng action movie? (Pa, what is that? Is that a trailer of an upcoming action movie?)"
"No, hindi yan trailer (No, it's not a trailer). It's really happening".
As of that moment, the 20 floors (85th to 110th floor) of the North Tower was a burning inferno. It was inaccessible. I could still remember people waving their clothes from the windows of their offices as black smoke continued to rise from the building. A gaping hole brought about by an impact of American Airlines Flight 11 made the news media across the globe to speculate that it was an accident. New York had already experienced this kind of accident back in 1945 when a B-25 Mitchell bomber plane crashed between the 79th and 80th floor of the Empire State Building. Then the speculation abruptly changed to an act of terrorism when at exactly 9:03 AM, a Boeing 767 United Airlines Flight 175 crashed at the South Tower.
Photographers also have grotesque images of people jumping off from the burning inferno of World Trade Center. Some claimed that they're cowards. Others label them as the unsung heroes of 9/11. For me, they were left with desperate choices. They chose to jump than to suffocate from the building's thick black smoke or be roasted by a 2,300 degree Fahrenheit fire. The news continued as Pentagon was hit by a Boeing 757 at 9:05 AM in Washington and a plane crashed somewhere in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
People from different countries have witnessed such event.
And thus, we remember the people who suffered the ordeal.
We remember the jumpers. Ordinary people will grumble how hard life is despite having all the needs and wants in their lives. Jumpers have to deal with such difficult decisions of whether to fight the fire or just to escape this nightmare.
We remember the firefighters who have bravely saved people from the burning towers and died.
We remember the people who died inside their respective offices in the World Trade Center and Pentagon. They weren't prepared. Some died instantly at their desks. Others had to suffer so much pain before the building collapsed.
We remember the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 11 and American Airlines Flight 77. Even if they didn't arrive at their destination, they were at least prepared and aware of what was happening on their flight minutes before the crash.
We remember the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 who bravely fought their hijackers and instead of heading to the US Capitol, they crashed on a rural field somewhere in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
We remember the victims' family members. They will never forget the day when they had their last phone calls with their loved ones.
We remember the terrorists. They also have their own share of story; the reason why they did this inhumane act.
Lastly, we remember 9/11. It was a wake up call to all us. It made us realized that anything can happen in the world. Live life to the fullest. Cherish every moment of our life.
We will never forget 9/11.