This year marks the 17th 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 from 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 share the papers with him.

Lately, we've been seeing people try to erase history, but I don't think we should. 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.

On a recent trip to see my family in Albany, we stopped at the September 11th exhibit at the New York State Museum. The magnitude of emotions that I felt is simply indescribable. We were surrounded by pieces of buildings and vehicles damaged in the attacks as well as well as flyers, pleading for help to find loved ones. My heart was hit hard and it was solidified within me the deep responsibility that I have to make sure that this moment in American history not be swept under the rug. 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 about a two-hour drive from the Binghamton area and 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]