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Evrod Cassimy reflects on ‘panic’ of September 11 attacks

In this Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, file photo, the twin beams of the annual Tribute in Light commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks shine amid the city's skyline, in New York. The twin beams of light representing the World Trade Center towers won’t be beamed into the sky during the 2020 memorial of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City, because of concerns about the coronavirus and the health of work crews. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, file photo, the twin beams of the annual Tribute in Light commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks shine amid the city's skyline, in New York. The twin beams of light representing the World Trade Center towers won’t be beamed into the sky during the 2020 memorial of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City, because of concerns about the coronavirus and the health of work crews. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

Like many people, it’s a day that I’ll never forget. September 11, 2001.

I had just started my senior year of high school. I was excited for what the future held for me. I remember walking in the halls of my high school and as we switched classes, someone mentioned that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

To be honest, most of the students in my class had no idea what the building even was. Many even thought it was an accident.

Shortly after, we found out that it was intentional. Everyone skipped class to find the nearest TV. I went to my English teacher’s classroom where we all gathered around to watch the live news coverage. That’s when we saw the second plane hit the second tower. It was an image burned into my memory.

When I watched the skyscrapers fall to the ground, panic set in. Here’s the thing. My dad lived in NYC at the time. He had just taken a job as a school principal there. I immediately called him not knowing where he was in the city in relation to the twin towers.

No answer.

In fact, the phone lines weren’t even working. I called several cousins, aunts and uncles who also lived or worked near Manhattan. Busy signal. I was 16 years old. Confused and frightened. It was clear that hundreds, if not thousands of people would lose their lives in the crash and collapse.

I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to commit such a heinous act.

Eventually I would make contact with my father and other relatives. Sadly, watching the news that day I knew many others would not.

Today, I still feel that same scared feeling in my heart reminiscing about this terrifying time in our country’s history.

I continue to pray for those who lost their lives and their families. May we never forget.


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