We have come to the end of another month so I thought now would be as good a time as any to go on a written journey back through the days of June.

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History has always fascinated me.

I’ve been interested in the Civil War since my family took a vacation to Gettysburg.

I thought I might write down my thoughts on the Confederate battle flag and statues, but I’ve decided to leave them for another day.

Instead, I’d like to go even farther into the past.

Here’s a quick story about how yesterday might influence today and tomorrow.

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A podcast episode I heard tonight took me back to the Lincoln Memorial steps.

When I stood on them last year I’d known giants of the Civil Rights Movement had also stood there.

Tonight, thanks to a bonus episode of The Washington Post’s “Presidential” podcast, which has episodes about United States president’s lives and leadership, I heard an earlier civil rights giant’s story in a new way.

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Today, I thought about one of the best opportunities I had as a journalist.

Every June 6 since 2011, my mind has drifted to the day I knocked on a door and what I heard from the man who answered.

I couldn’t find the full original story I wrote so some of the details may be a little off, but what follows is the short version from my memory.

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It was just another Tuesday, and I was just another 15-year-old sophomore in high school.

My mind had little regard for anything except girls, sports, what I’d eat for lunch and how I’d get through math class.

I didn’t have a cell phone or a driver’s license.

I was nowhere near New York City or the World Trade Center.

Terrorism was just a word.

I’m 32 now. Things are different.

I know you might skim this story on your cell phone. I know you might be too young to remember what happened.

Maybe you weren’t even born.

Maybe all you know about Sept. 11, 2001, came from what you’ve seen on social media or heard in history class.

My friend wrote a column about Sept. 11 last week, in which she made a wonderful point about what I remember most from the the day’s aftermath. I’ve thought about you since I read it. I thought about you again this morning, when I saw an Instagram post from a history teacher who had students interview someone who has a clear memory of what happened 17 years ago today to help them see a different picture of one of America’s most disasterous days.

I’ll never forget what unfolded in those hours.

If you can’t remember, and you have a minute to spare, I’d like to try to take you to a time when the history you’ve heard was just heartbreak. (more…)