Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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Seemingly every American can identify a tragedy that defines their generation. Whether it’s the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, or the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle, we all have an event about which we can say, “I remember where I was when that happened.”
I’m not going to pull any punches here. If what I’m about to say offends you, then you’re reading the wrong sports blog.
When extremist Muslim terrorists slammed American Airlines Flight 11, fully-fueled and fully-loaded, into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46AM on September 11, 2001, I was sitting in health class with my cross country coach. I will never forget the look on his face, or the chill that went down my spine when the announcement was made over the PA system at Fredericktown High School. We sat in silence for about thirty seconds and then went on with class.
Nobody yet knew that this was intentional. We knew it was a horrible tragedy, but we had no idea that we were under attack.
I proceeded on to my next class, Freshman English, where the teacher had the TV tuned to the news station. I watched live as Flight 175 slammed into the South Tower and a massive fireball shot out the other side of the building.
Nothing felt real and nothing felt safe. Two airliners don’t just accidentally crash into two buildings in the same city on the same day.
This was the day that my generation was violently informed of just how ugly the world really is. The veil was removed from our eyes.
Then the Pentagon was struck by Flight 77. That’s when the speculation began. How many planes were going to go down and what were the other targets? How many cities would suffer the same fate?
When United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, nobody knew that it was the last plane that would go down. Everyone thought there would be more. No location seemed safe.
Sure, living in a small town like Fredericktown, it’s easy to assume you’re not the target. But when you learn that a field near a small town you’ve never heard of in Pennsylvania got hit as well, that seems a little too close to home. Suddenly no target seems too small and you feel like you could be next.
The outlook of every boy in that school changed. We were ticked off. Many guys changed their post high school plans immediately.
I watched as a good number of people I knew volunteered for the military after graduation, often talking to recruiters before they even graduated.
This reaction was not isolated to Fredericktown, OH. Towns and cities across the country saw their boys become men as they risked their lives to go fight this bloodthirsty enemy.
Many of them would never come home.
All of us here at ‘Our Sports Report’ would like to thank the military men and women who fought to defend this country in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the families of the first responders, and the families who lost their sons and daughters in the two wars sparked by this terrible attack.
May we never forget the lives that were lost.
We encourage you all to take whatever is left of your day and forget about sports. Days like today remind us that there are much more important things in life.
Reflect on the freedom that you have, and the price that was paid for that freedom. It most certainly wasn’t free.