I was in college when the planes hit the towers, studying that Tuesday morning before class in the student union. The woman who ran the student snack bar and I were the only people there that morning, and together we watched the second plane hit on live TV.
At that moment, my stomach dropped. After the first plane hit, no one really knew what was going on, whether a small aircraft had accidentally crashed into the tower or if it had been an explosion or something else. But when that second plane hit, we knew. This wasn’t an accident. Someone had planned this. It was an attack. Suddenly, we were at war.
In the months and years that followed, my classmates and I tried to wrap our minds around what we thought was coming: a generational struggle against jihadist networks that seemed to span the globe, that had even infiltrated the United States. We all read Samuel P. Huntington’s