To say it means "a lot" is like saying the Earth contains a lot of water.
This day, coming after my favorite holiday, Labor Day, is important to me. I will not be overdramatic and say it changed my life forever, but it was one of the few days that I can say I know where I was when I heard the news. I was at home, just woke up on the couch, watching a commercial for a tree stand with my mom. We both thought it was hilarious how the commercials made such a contraption sound so easy to manage, when in reality the product would result in a lot of broken arms and legs from falling.
So then my mom turned the channel, and there was breaking news with the headlines along the lines of "Multiple Plane Crashes." At first, I thought this was the end of the world, or that there was some malfunction with airliner equipment that was causing planes to crash from the sky. Soon it became clear from the footage, the multiple sites, and the reports that this was not an accident.
Then the first tower fell. This was not the fiery explosion of a Hollywood movie. It collapsed like a house of cards.
Then the second tower fell. This was real.
Still, at this time no one had announced any closures and got dressed and I went to the college campus in preparation for class. I didn't want to, but I presumed that despite all of the news, that the people in charge didn't think it was a big deal, and that we were expected to go along like cogs in the machine. It was only after I had gotten there that they mentioned that classes were cancelled. So I went back home, and as I heard the airplane jets soaring overhead, I realized that nowhere was safe.
I searched for comfort, so I went online more out of habit rather than anything else. In the certain forums the political discussion was already shaping how people were glad that Geroge Bush was elected president. I didn't care one bit one way or the other. In fact, I couldn't write much of anything at all. So then I wandered into a chatroom, only for a certain individual to joke about the stupidity of the people caught in the towers. I exploded. I was wrong for wishing bodily harm on that person. It was immature, selfish, and wrong, and for my reaction, I apologized. In response, the other person bragged there would be no apology from her end, because I took the events of that date too seriously, which eventually led to events I'd rather forget, but because of the date, I cannot.
Over the years I've seen people hijack this day for political ends. From George Bush to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck's little fundraiser. For the most part, I have avoided writing or doing much of anything on this day, other than perhaps posting a memorial. In fact, for the longest time, I protested that people were trying to move on too fast, and that we needed to stop, examine, then after time act. As a result for saying this, friends literally turned their backs on me. Ironic, then that they are the same one ones who now put on a fake show of being affected by the tragic events of that day.
As a result, the strongest testimonial of this day comes not from the mouths of people, but from the symbols of what was lost. I still have the special Heinz ketchup bottle from when the Pittsburgh Steelers were to play against the Cleveland Browns in the home opener on September 16, 2001. That game was postponed, and it meant that the first regular season game at Heinz Field was not on the commemorative date. That bottle has never been opened, and in like manner this date will never be forgotten.