This year marks the 18th anniversary of the day that our world was completely turned upside down. American soil had been infiltrated and mass panic and confusion ensued. Life as we knew it would forever change.

Following the horrific events of September 11th, I made a vow that no matter what, I would never forget and that I would do my part to honor the lives of the approximately 3,000 who died that day as well as the lives that would be lost as an indirect result in the weeks and years to follow.

Traci Taylor

I saved all of the newspapers that I could get my hands on in the days following September 11, 2001, and as soon as my son is old enough and emotionally mature enough to be able to comprehend the magnitude of everything that happened that day, I will sit down and share those papers with him.

Lately, we've been seeing people try to erase history or modify it to fit their agenda but why? The things we've gone through are what have shaped us into who and what we are, and we can either learn from the tragedies and vow to do our part to stand up to hatred and squash it, starting within our own hearts, or we can turn a blind eye and leave our children to fend for their own. I choose to remember and to do my part to leave the world a better place for my son.

My family lives in Albany and whenever we get a chance, we visit the New York State Museum and it doesn't matter how many times we walk through the ongoing exhibit, "The World Trade Center: Rescue, Recovery, Response," the magnitude of emotions I feel is simply indescribable. When you walk through the exhibit, you're surrounded by pieces of buildings and vehicles damaged in the attacks as well as flyers, pleading for help to find loved ones. Every time I walk through the desire to make sure that this moment in American history not be swept under the rug grows stronger. Remembering is the very least we can do to honor the lives of those lost.

If you're not able to get to New York City to see the 9/11 Memorial, or if you don't handle crowds well and are looking for something on a smaller and more intimate scale, I can't say enough good things about the 9/11 exhibit at the New York State Museum in Albany. Admission is free (although a donation is suggested) and you can take all the time you want to soak everything in.

The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Mondays. Learn more about visiting here.

[via New York State Museum]