It was a Tuesday morning like any other, I woke up at my usual 5ish (I’m a morning person through and through) and was putting my makeup on with CNN in the background and vaguely heard something about a plane hitting a tower in New York. I turned and as I focused on the TV image, I saw another plane hitting the tower next to it. My first thought was that it was a clip from a movie. A second later, I realized what the unbearable truth was.

I drove to work and broke the news to a couple of colleagues who had been focusing on writing code that morning and had not checked the news yet. All the news websites were overloaded so I began checking online newspapers from Spain and France, which were still accessible. The news kept getting worse and worse; the images, more and more horrific. In our world full of movies with car chases, monumental explosions and unending CGI effects, this horror was incomprehensible.

I went home early from work, and spent the next 10 hours or so going from channel to channel, sobbing when the members of Congress sang America the Beautiful, then later, crying when people outside Buckingham Palace sang our national anthem. Throughout the world, people were Americans. The time for mocking our society and decrying all that is wrong with our country had stopped for all those who were united with us in grief – that time would come back, inevitably, because we sure do give a lot of material for others to mock, but right now, there were loving hands extended towards us. At work I received many emails from companies and affiliates in other countries, expressing sorrow for the attacks.

The incredible number of victims, so many of them firefighters and other personnel who ran into the nightmare as many were running from it. The stories of heroism in the middle of all that fear, the calls to loved ones from people in the airplanes, the overwhelming hatred of those who sought to destroy so many lives for their unjustifiable reasons. I remember it all. And I will never forget.