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What's your 9/11 story? Staff Sgt. Stephen Myers

Staff Sgt. Stephen Myers, 162nd Fighter Wing, Tucson, Ariz. (U.S Air Force photo/Master Sgt. David Neve)

Staff Sgt. Stephen Myers, 162nd Fighter Wing, Tucson, Ariz. (U.S Air Force photo/Master Sgt. David Neve)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Throughout my childhood, I can recall many occasions where my grandparents shared stories about significant moments in our national history. As I listened to their experiences and feelings about Pearl Harbor, the day WWII ended and the day that President Kennedy was assassinated, I was always intrigued by the common goodness of the American people in the face of tragedy. In spite of these stories, I believed that my generation was beyond such tragedy and that we were incapable of such unity and patriotism.

In the days following 9/11 my thoughts on this subject shifted completely as I witnessed something extraordinary. Police officers, firefighters and an array of exceptional people traveling from every corner of the United States to the aid of New York, crowds of people gathering alongside New Yorkers at the barricades to encourage the rescuers and provide them with food, water and comforts, a bipartisan Congress standing on the steps of the Capitol under a common God singing for his blessing of our nation, and a President humbled to tears in a shared gesture of grief amongst the American people.

Though the pages of history may remember September 11, 2001 as a day when the fruits of hatred and intolerance took the lives of more than 3,000 people, I remember it as the day when we were all Americans and nothing else mattered. I remember it as the day when we all felt inclined to do something whether small or large to aid our neighbors, friends and loved ones.

Since then, I have graduated from high school and have served in the Air Force ever since. Along with my fellow servicemen, I have carried the legacy of the 9/11 generation, as well as the wisdom that I acquired that day.

Ultimately for me, September 11, 2001 was as December 7, 1941 was for my grandparents and November 22, 1963 for my parents. September 11, 2001 has become the day when the goodness and the resolve of the American people came under attack and ultimately rose above those who wish us harm.