by Chad McDuffee
Like most people alive in 2001 I will never forget the day. The day that changed my entire life. I was working as a cook at Beefmaster Steakhouse here in Ballinger at the time. I didn’t have many plans for the future besides work and pay the bills. Jaslyn, my girlfriend at the time and now wife, had an apartment at the Gatewood Apartments. The day started like many other days. I didn’t get home until late from closing the resteraunt the night before so I was sleeping in. I just remember laying in bed and hearing Jaslyn yelling from the living room to come look at the TV.
When I walked in it was just in time to see the plane hit the second tower. My heart sunk, my head sunk, my body felt like a pile of jello as I fell on to the couch. I knew in that moment our entire world would change. Because of that day we will forever have the horrific images of people jumping to their deaths because it was less scary than burning alive. Also because of this day we will forever have the images of brave policemen and firefighters that unknowingly and bravely raced to their deaths in order to save the lives of people trapped inside.
This day will forever be one of the worst in our history that brought out the best. On this day we were one. There were no races, no political parties, just Americans. And everyone was proud to be one.
Up until this point in my life I had never been out of the state of Texas, but a few short months later I was headed off to basic training in the aftermath of September 11th. A small town boy from Texas that had no ties or allegiance to New York, but they were my people as much as the ones next door. We have gotten away from that and I think today is a good day to remember that. We are one. No matter our disagreeances, no matter the transgressions. We are in this together. When called upon to defend each other again we need to be ready and willing to put those differences aside and remember again that we are all Americans.