My most vivid memory in the last ten years has got to be the morning of September 11, 2001.
That morning around 5 AM, I remember waking up early to get some reading done for my American History AP class. I could tell you that I was already more stressed out than I could have ever been because I was only two weeks into school and was already struggling.
I think around 6 AM... I got tired of reading, so I turned on the TV in the living room. I couldn't believe what I saw. It wasn't like a high speed chase or a train crash, but a plane had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center! I woke my parents up and told them to watch the news immediately. I was running late for school, but I knew that this was going to be going through everybody's mind the entire day.
When I got to class around 8 in the morning, I noticed that every classroom had their TVs turned to the news. That's when I heard that the second plane hit the South Tower. That's when it finally hit that it was no ordinary accident or pilot error.
It was difficult to recall what went through my mind at the time, but I could see everybody in the class who hadn't fully grasped the severity of the situation took it as an advantage to chill out and not take the quiz. I was relieved too, but at the same time, I was too shocked to even think about anything else.
Now looking back, the last ten years have really taken us off the course that we were suppose to be heading for. The global economy took a nosedive, which affected nearly everything in the financial sector.
If we were to look at everything that has happened since 9/11 to now... the federal deficit went from $128 billion (2001) to -1.3 trillion (2011), the DOW closed at 9605.51 (2001) to 11,493.57 (2011), unemployment went from 4.9% (2001) to 9.1% (2011), housing went from $156,600 (2001) to $173,100 (2011), US airlines flew about 29 million more passengers, gold skyrocketed from $271.50 an ounce (2001) to $1821 an ounce (2001), and oil went from $1.53/gallon or $27.66 per barrel (2001) to $3.65/gallon or $88.93 per barrel (2011).
Five years later, I visited New York for the very first time. I remember walking through Ground Zero, standing where the World Trade Center use to be, treading through the foundations of construction that stretched for a few blocks. Every time I go back, I take the blue line down to the WTC area and think to myself that history was made here not too long ago. Everything in the last ten years stemmed from what happened here, and it completely changed the world.
As I'm writing this in my hotel in San Francisco while watching the commemoration on television, I think back to the time I was sitting in that classroom watching this disastrous occasion unfold. Ten years later... still can't believe that much time has passed.