Today is September 11 – a day that lives in the back of the minds of millions of Americans. As we reflect on Patriot’s Day, I wonder how many of us truly recall the horrors of what happened. As I look back 17 years ago, nearly an entire generation – almost all of our current grade school population – was not born when the Twin Towers fell in 2001 as terrorists killed nearly 3,000 men, women and children at three locations on American soil.

I remember exactly what I was doing that day – preparing to celebrate my birthday with family while enjoying what I thought would be a typical day in the newsroom. Oh, how wrong I was as my easy-going birthday soon turned into being riveted to a television for days, even weeks.

On September 11, 2001, I was in my office at the Kokomo Perspective when the first plane attacked New York City, and we were huddled around an office TV when the second plane struck. That is when we all knew it would not be a typical day. I was then standing with the publisher when the first tower fell. Realizing it would be a long week, I called my dad at work and checked on my mom, grabbed a quick bite to eat and began working on a special edition.

Remember, 17 years ago was an age before Twitter and Facebook, so there was no instant news – or even fake news. All eyes were glued on the national networks, watching in horror when the second tower fell. Was this really happening? Could those horrific images be true? Unfortunately, it was – and it was playing out on live television.

Over the course of the next few days, America came to grips with what had transpired – terrorists had toppled two landmark New York skyscrapers and brought our great country to a halt; planes were grounded, New York City was closed and sporting events were canceled. The United States was changed that day – we went back to war, this time against terrorism. Our airport security system was forever altered – yes, long lines at security didn’t always exist. And America became a little more vulnerable as an unseen enemy was able to strike on our own shores.

Days, weeks and months later, we slowly emerged and our lives returned to a new normal – maybe more vulnerable, but at the same time stronger. American flags flew a little taller and patriotism was at an all-time high as America responded. And while we are still fighting the War on Terrorism, it is reassuring to know that another major attack has not happened.

Seventeen years later, I am afraid 9/11 will become my generations Vietnam War – something that was spoken about but not really experienced. I will never forget that day, and I pray our Nation will never forget either. God Bless America!

Until next time, remember to keep the man and ship in sports – and I’ll see you at the game.

Dean Hockney is the publisher of the award-winning Sports Journal of Central Indiana and the public address voice of Kokomo Municipal Stadium for the Wildkats and Jackrabbits. You can follow him on Twitter (@Sports_Journal) for the latest in local sports news and in-game reports.

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