As much of the country digests the somber anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, speech/theatre instructor Amy Crane still recalls much of the day vividly. 

“I was teaching my tech theatre class in this very room. We were working on a bedroom set design,” she says behind the desk of her upper-level classroom. “A maintenance employee was fixing the handle on my door when he remarked that a small plane - maybe a Cessna - had hit the World Trade Center.” 

Crane, who routinely watches the morning news out of New York, knew it was a clear day on the East Coast, so she was equal parts suspicious and surprised. By the time she shepherded the 12 members of her class to a lower-level room with a television, a replay was airing of United Airlines Flight 175 penetrating the South Tower. 

In less than 20 minutes, two planes had collided with both Twin Towers, and it was painfully obvious that it was no accident. An hour later, two 757s had been overtaken and ultimately crashed: one into the Pentagon, the other into a field in rural Pennsylvania. The latter was reportedly bound for the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. before a cadre of courageous passengers wrestled away control of the craft.

One of Crane’s students, whose name will remain anonymous out of respect for privacy, was visibly nervous. Her aunt was flying that day. 

“She called her mother, and the mother said she had been checking flight numbers and that she thought her plane hit the Pentagon,” Crane recants.

Sadly, she was correct.

Along with agony, Crane also experienced inspiration when her father, Jim Pizarek, helped establish a relief fund through the Moose Lodge called the Flight 93 Fund. 

“He helped hand the check over to the program coordinator,” she said proudly. 

The example is one of many in response to the 9/11 attacks that serve as a testament to the American resolve. In the weeks that followed, we weren’t Hoosiers or Michiganders; Floridians or New Yorkers. We were simply Americans, and good will always prevail over evil in this one nation under God.

As time continues to distance itself further from the horrific events of 9/11, we remember the thousands who lost their lives that day and in those that followed. But it’s important we recognize the love and hope that arose in the aftermath.