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The lingering effects of 9/11

Sixteen years ago on Monday, our entire world as we knew it changed forever.

The first time I heard anything about the 9/11 attacks, I was making my way to history class as a freshman in high school in Buckingham. Wearing my backpack, I was turning the corner headed up the stairs to history class when I overheard an older student say that the nation was under attack.

I was in disbelief, and denied the assertion in my head as I made my way into the small classroom. Our nation under attack? I’d never heard someone say those words before. I was dumbfounded, telling myself that it couldn’t be true.

Just a few hours later, I would sit in my hospitality class in the then-Buckingham Vocational Center, watching live coverage of the aftermath that afternoon as I waited to board the school bus to travel home.

With our level of safety diminished, after school my brother and I climbed the hill to the house our daddy built. After dinner, as many parents did with their children, daddy sat us down, and explained to us what happened, what he thought it meant and how times could change following the attacks.

The effects of Sept. 11, 2001, still linger in the hearts and minds through every community across the U.S. on this hallowed day that we remember when thousands of men, women and children met their demise at the hands of a group of people that most of us had never heard of.

The impact 9/11 had on people varies widely — from those who stood in the streets of New York City with their eyes to the sky as an airplane barreled into a skyscraper to those who heard about it from far away hours after it happened.

Filling in that missing piece hasn’t been easy for many, including those who lost loved ones in the tragedy. It’s a process though that can be aided by flying an American flag on your front porch, thanking a veteran for their service to our nation or attending a Veterans Day or Memorial Day service.

These actions show our unity as members of a collective group of communities bound together by the same principles and standards of hope, love and forgiveness that we all must embrace to be whole and healed.

JORDAN MILES is the managing editor of The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Jordan.Miles@FarmvilleHerald.com.