GREENVILLE, AL (WSFA) - "This is like a lot of the people that I saw that day," says Jennifer Idland as she looks at newspapers dated September 12th, 2001.
Most of us remember the 9/11 attacks from what we read in news reports or saw on television.
But for Idland, the tragedy is more real than anything she's ever experienced.
"We watched the buildings fall. Eventually, after sometime...there were people that started walking up with ash on them and their suitcases and briefcases from their office job. And I finally started to realize at that point where I was. It was just solid choking smoke," she says.
Idland was in New York City for a weekend with her girlfriends. What was supposed to be a fun trip turned into a nightmare.
"We didn't know what was going to happen next and it was very unnerving."
She managed to find some newspapers the next day, but hasn't looked at them in years.
Even with time, it doesn't get any easier.
"I guess because everyday we live in America, we take so much for granted."
Idland says when she learned of the attacks, all she wanted to do was come home and see her family, knowing some never would get that chance again.
"There were a lot of people that wanted to come home that day and they couldn't."
Idland says she and her friends had to rent a car to drive back home to Alabama because they couldn't fly out of New York. She says the drive home was the best thing for her. Signs on bridge overpasses, and the side of the road read "God bless America," and thanked public safety officials for their service. It was a spirit of unity she hopes will never be forgotten as our nation remembers the 9/11 attacks.