Bears offensive lineman Edwin Williams was just 14 years old when a typical Tuesday at DeMatha High School, outside Washington, D.C., turned into one he'd never forget.
"My teacher from the start of class announced that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, and all of a sudden she just started to cry," Williams recalled this week.
That alone was confused, he remembered. And then a classmate ran into the room and announced that the Pentagon just a few miles away had been hit as well.
"That's when everybody was going crazy, like, 'What's going on?' All of a sudden we see all these planes flying over the school. I was just really numb at the time and in shock," he said.
Officials cancelled the day's remaining classes and after-school activities, including Williams' football practice. He returned to his home in the nation's capitol -- a home and a city he used to take for granted.
"I always assumed Washington, D.C was kind of an invicible city... I never thought anything of this magnitude would ever happen on our home turf," he said. "In a way you cold say you're part of history, but you don't want to be part of history like that."
Williams' father used to work at the Pentagon, and he had friends of friends who were working there at the time. He said that day -- Sept. 11, 2001 -- had a major impact on him and many of his generation.
"I was an 80s baby. There was no serious world wars or Vietnam, anything significant as far as warfare that happened to us," he said. "When something like that happens, especially close to you ... it really made me understand the whole world view of things."