UNITED STATES—It’s hard to fathom that it has been 15 years since the United States was forever changed when several terrorists changed our world. September 11, 2001, that date is one that will NEVER be forgotten by anyone who is an American. We can all without a doubt vividly recall where we were and what we were doing when we heard about the attack on the World Trade Center buildings in New York City.

I for one was in my Pre-Calculus course learning the importance of matrices. However, about 20 minutes into class our teacher who is normally calm, hushed the class and turned on the television. Note: we’ve never had the TV on in our classroom, so for our teacher to do so, something was up. We’re watching the news and we see one of the WTC buildings smoking, it’s on fire.

Most of us in class are in awe; we’re not really sure what is going on, that could be because we weren’t able to get the sound on the TV to work, all we knew was that the building was on fire and smoke was billowing into the air. Out of nowhere, we see an airplane crash into the other building. Our teacher immediately turns off the screen, as the classroom erupts with anxiety, fear and concern.

Moments later the PA system emits throughout the school, alerting all students to pack-up all their belongings and to head home IMMEDIATELY. That might have been the key term that had all of us worried. Whatever was happening was serious, it was no joke and the fact that we were being dismissed from class less than an hour after school started was a sign.

There was so much chatter in the hallways and now the truth begins to emerge. America is under attack. People were running out of the school as if the world had ended. That’s all classmates were talking about on their walk home. I get home and the attack on the World Trade Center buildings is on EVERY SINGLE channel. This is the first time that I can recall as long as I’ve lived that not even the Cable channels were exempt from alerting the public of what had transpired because it was so grand, so epic and so terrifying, no one knew how to truly respond to what was transpiring.

What was more frustrating was the discovery that several other attacks had occurred that same day, where hundreds of lives were lost at the hands of cowards. People who wanted to break the spirit of Americans, but what I recall from that infamous day 15 years ago, was the spirit of America, the people of this great country was stronger than I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life. I was proud to be an American, everyone I knew was proud to be an American, and we were determined to survive this horrific attack and bond as much as possible.

While many of us took Sunday to reflect back on that impactful moment in history, I still find so many people who have seemed to forgotten what transpired in this country less than a decade ago. We were under attack, that’s not something we should forget, there were people who SACRIFICED their lives that day to prevent further attacks, families were destroyed, people became heroes; America became the central topic of discussion.

While 9/11 itself has yet to become a national holiday which I’m certain will transpire in the near future, it’s imperative we all take a moment every year on this particular day to remember what transpired on that fateful day and to remind ourselves that we are lucky to be Americans and lucky to still be living and breathing. Life is precious, but more important being an American is NOTHING no one can take from us. I’m proud to say that and I will always echo that sentiment.