Austin Peay State University student, Nathan Smith, provided a picture taken at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, showing the view of lower Manhattan the morning of the attack. (Photo Provided)

This exact day, 22 years ago, marked a moment in American history that has forever altered our lives as a day that we will never forget.

On September 11, 2001, a series of terrorist attacks collapsed the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center, struck the Pentagon just outside of our country’s capital, and crashed in rural Pennsylvania before reaching the next target. 

The devastating attacks claimed nearly 3,000 lives with over 300 of the ones lost being the brave firefighters that sacrificed their lives to rescue as many as possible from the collapsed and damaged buildings.

The attacks brought such a shock to the nation that, even two decades later, many people are still able to recall what they were doing in the exact moment the disaster struck.

Jamie Bowen, a professor here at Austin Peay State University, says he was 15 at the time working as a library assistant with access to live television when the events started going down.

He remembers being in awe as he watched the live news coverage of smoke coming from the buildings with people jumping from them, right before he saw the towers collapse.  

“It was a watershed moment in the sense that our country was never the same after that. It was a time that everybody came together,” Bowen said. “We went from being really globalized as a country to looking inside and being scared of people.” 

For those interested, you can visit the site of the attack in New York, which has now been replaced with a large memorial that serves as a tribute to remember every life we lost.

Nathan Smith, a freshman at APSU, visited the memorial last winter and recommends it to anyone who is visiting the New York area.

“It was just really surreal,” Smith said. “It’s something that we talk about every year, and it just makes it feel so real.”

Recalling what he said was the saddest part of the memorial- a giant room filled with the faces of everyone who died that day- Smith said, “No one was talking. It was really quiet and sad, and I actually did see a few people crying.” 

Today, 22 years later, we honor the lives lost and the sacrifices made. We remember September 11th as a day that grieving friends, family members, and even strangers came together to show their patriotism and support for one another in a time of tragedy.