NASHVILLE, Tenn. --How could you forget? Surely it's not possible.
No one could forget the senseless attack that cost thousands of Americans their lives – destruction that is impossible to quantify with words or numbers. I know I could never begin to in this article.
I was only in sixth grade when it happened. It might sound young, but I remember that day in vivid detail. My mom called me from work and told me about what happened in New York City. She suggested I avoid the news in an attempt to shield me from the graphic imageries.
When SportsCenter's broadcast gave way to national news coverage of the attacks, I knew things were serious. That might sound silly, but my sixth grade logic told me that 'you don't just cancel SportsCenter for nothing.'
The sheer terror in people's faces was something I'd never seen outside of a movie. I remember the sick feeling I carried throughout the day as the images of planes crashing willingly into the towers were branded in my mind.
In retrospect, I imagine I was probably too young to fully grasp the gravity of the event. I'd heard the word terrorism thrown around, but it was a foreign word that wasn't applicable in America. Pearl Harbor was a one-time thing. People don't attack Americans. Not within our own shores, at least.
I didn't know anyone in those towers and I could never begin to claim I understand the pain that people still endure from that day. However, I do know that I'll never forget the impact that day had on me.
The same goes for everyone associated with the Tennessee Titans. On the 13th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack our nation has ever seen, the Titans took time today to reflect on the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt was in his first year with the Steelers.
*"We were in game plan meetings in Pittsburgh when the assistant came in and said 'Turn on the TV you've got to see this.' That was right after the second plane had hit the second tower. At that point we really didn't know what to do. I just remember being shocked in the sense of loss and pain for all that people were going through. *
I think it speaks a lot about our country how we all rallied around that but it was a tough time. I'll never forget after that, our first game was at home and just being grateful to be back to football and how much it meant to our country to get back to that and the support we showed the families and the victims of 9/11."
Cornerback Jason McCourty grew up in Montvale, N.J., just about 30 miles from New York City.
"I was in ninth grade. We were in class and I remember our teacher turning on the radio and they told us we wouldn't be switching periods and we'd stay in the same classroom we were in. In fact, [Rudy] Giuliani's son went to school with me and was in my class. His bodyguards (if that's what you want to call them) that were always around them came into school and got him. I remember us sitting there not remembering what was going on and our teacher telling us.
*It still didn't really hit me until I got back home. When I got back to my house, my mom had the TV on the news and you could see all the smoke from everything that happened. I remember her just telling my brother and me about it. It was just crazy being so close to New York City. I wasn't affected directly, but I knew a lot of people that were and who lost parents and loved ones. It was just a crazy day and I will always remember where I was when it all happened." *
Like McCourty, Dexter McCluster was also in middle school when the news broke.
"I remember I was at Seminole Middle School in the eighth grade when it happened. When you're young like that you really don't understand the significance of it, how much of an impact it is and tragedy it was. My teacher stopped class to talk to us about it. When I got home my parents showed me on the news and everything. It was pretty devastating. I'll definitely never forget that. It changed a lot of lives.
A lot of lives were lost and a lot of families were devastated by their loss. That day right there is a day everyone will remember. This is home for us and it was close for us. You just have to approach every day being thankful to be here. A lot of people woke up that day thinking they had the rest of their lives ahead of them and just like that it's taken from them. You have to appreciate every day."
Nate Washington was a freshman at Tiffin University.
"If I can recall, I was in class at Tiffin. Our class was interrupted by another professor who told our professor what was going on. The whole classroom building I was in that day congregated around one big screen in one of the classes. I was in pure amazement to see something on that level affecting America like it was affecting it. It was definitely an eye opener. We as a nation kind of get caught up in our freedoms and our protection sometimes so to have a terrorist attack on that stage was an eye opener. Being that young and without many responsibilities in college on an adult level – to see something like that affect you was crazy for us."