UNITED STATES—If I had not taken a moment to think about it, I would have totally forgot that Monday, September 11, marked the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. It feels so long ago that event transpired, but it feels like so many Americans forget about that fateful day and how it forever changed this Country.

It wasn’t made a federal holiday or even recognized to a degree as a day of remembrance which it should be. So many Americans are going to continue about their day as if it never happened. I truly wonder how many people are going to remember this week marking more than 20 plus years since those planes crashed into the World Trade Centers in New York City, putting this Nation on edge in a way that we’ve never been on edge before.

The thousands of lives that were lost inside those buildings, the firefighters and first responders who lost their lives trying to rescue people, the terror that came over this nation and the fear that brought us together unlike any other event in this Country that I can imagine. It changed flying at an airport forever; post 9/11 getting on a flight at the airport was not as intense as it now is.

The Country known as the United States of America was at a standstill for a good 48 to 72 hours as most of us attempted to process what transpired. There was a level of fear that could not be explained with words. We were under attack, but to the degree of that attack, most Americans did not know. I was in high school at the time of the attack, and I remember it so vividly because the TV in our classroom was turned on.

Our teacher NEVER turned that TV on, so we thought nothing of it at first, that was until we were watching video of the World Trade Center buildings in NYC and out of nowhere, we see a plane crash into the building. The notion of not believing my eyes was an understatement. That didn’t happen right? There is no way that happened right? However, the reality set in, it did happen, and shortly after another plane crashed into the other building.

The TV goes off and silence, before an announcement is made via the loudspeaker for all students to go home immediately. There was a panic, no one knows what is unfolding. I get home, turn on the news and then the reality hits. America was under attack, and the WTC buildings were just the beginning, two other planes were hijacked by terrorists at the hands of he who shall not be named. One was aimed at the U.S. pentagon, the other was on route towards the White House.

It is hard to fathom that if those planes, which had nefarious targets thanks to those cowards, had reached their actual destination, people at the White House would have lost their lives and the Pentagon losses might have been worse. Heroes stepped in and prevented that from transpiring, but just the thought of the actual horror sends chills down my spine.

As I age, I don’t forget that fateful day, even though I didn’t have family members who were directly impacted by what transpired in New York City. That day I was an American. We didn’t care about politics, race, sex, gender, religion, income, nothing else mattered. Americans united as one to show the terrorists who struck our world that we would not allow them to win. We would fight, we would endure and we would survive.

It feels like so many people have forgotten about that day and go on about their lives as if that day never happened. It actually did and for once, we need to stop, reflect and realize that day could have been a lot worse. We need to honor those lives that were lost, remember those people who sacrificed for our safety and did courageous things that many of us could never imagine. September 11 is not just any ole day anymore. It is a day that changed the USA forever and we shall never forget that.