Remembering September 11th. One Chelsea Clock employee looks back on the day that changed the course of U.S. history.

Choir class.

It’s funny how certain moments cannot be dimmed or faded in our memories. We can’t quite recall what we had for dinner on Monday, but ask us about the night Obama was elected or the announcement of the OJ Simpson verdict, and we can conjure up names of old classmates, sounds of celebration or shock, and the smells of the air as vividly as if it were happening all over again. Everyone has a story to tell about where they were, who they were with, or what song was playing on the stereo when they heard about JFK, the Challenger, a man on the moon.

Today it’s as vivid as it was 13 years ago: the announcement in choir class, confusion in my crowded high school, the newsreels on repeat. A community meeting at a local church. As a teenager in a small suburban New Jersey town, many of our parents had walked out of the chaos in the city that day, and many had not. Today we stand with our country and honor them with solemn dignity and quiet remembrance.

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”—President Obama