Travis Fedschun is working on the 9/11 Project at Rutgers University. Students are telling the stories of children who lost a parent in the September 11, 2001, terrrorist attacks. The stories will appear in New Jersey media outlets on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
New Brunswick, New Jersey (CNN) -- I am from Cedar Knolls, New Jersey, about 30 miles west of New York City. I remember the events of September 11 quite vividly. I was in eighth grade at Memorial Junior School, specifically in my history class, when our principal made the announcement of what happened.
Throughout the day, we were not really able to view any television. The question I had that day in the back of my head was, "How could people just stay in the towers and watch airplanes come at them?" Clearly, I didn't understand how fast airplanes fly.
When my parents picked me up from school that day, we took a long detour home, up to the area of my town known as Trailwoods. It's up on one of the higher hills in town. That day there was a very large group of people up there. We got out of the car and looked eastward, where the sky was filled with black smoke.
The perfectly blue sky was cut in half with this dark black knife through the middle of it. We don't have any pictures from that day, but the image is forever burned in my head.
Our trip to the city to see a production of "Aida" a week later also brings back memories of a McDonald's in Lower Manhattan that still had dust covering the coffee cups inside. We were the only ones in the restaurant. New York, the busiest city in the world, was a ghost town that everyone was avoiding like the plague.
When I first got the breaking news e-mail sent to my phone about the president making an address to the nation Sunday, I thought something must be up. I walked to the next room and turned on the TV.
There were no breaking news reports from anywhere in the world about any attacks, fires or disasters that had just taken place. When I saw on CNN's ticker about how it may be related to national security, I turned to my one housemate and said, "You know, I think they might have finally gotten (Osama) bin Laden."
Not to knock any of our leaders, but I still cannot believe we were able to pull this off. For all the time this has taken with the various twists and turns that we have seen, the mission finally being accomplished says a lot about the leadership of our country right now.
I don't know the last time something this big, this good has happened. I like to think about what it might have been like when we found out Hitler had killed himself. It's been the first time in recent history I actually feel like we are the can-do nation again that can get things done.
There were fireworks that went off afterward outside my off-campus house, but no large groups dancing in the streets. Cars drove by beeping their horns, but nothing like we saw on television.
Was that appropriate? I can see both sides of the argument.
My thoughts went immediately to the family I interviewed for the 9/11 Project from Westfield, New Jersey. Yes, we did finally accomplish the mission, but does that bring back a family member?
Some people are calling this moment closure for the 9/11 attacks.
The mother of the girl I interviewed, Diane Starita, told me in our interview that this whole story is never closed. That's the biggest thing I've gotten from this experience.
For all that we know about that Tuesday in September, there are still stories to tell about the Americans who lost their lives that day and the families that still go on keeping their loved ones' names alive so we don't forget about what happened that day.