Do you remember where you were at that morning?
As cliché as it sounds, Tuesday, September 11th started like any other Tuesday. I had just started my sophomore year. To me the world evolved around homecoming, student council, and my excitement of being in some classes that were full of seniors (hello popularity!). It was second hour, I was in quilting class that morning. My teacher always let us have the news on while we worked just for a little background noise and for any of us who cared. I never was the type to put too much time into what was going on around the world, but every once in a while something would catch my interest.
I was watching that morning. I couldn’t take my eyes off what was unfolding. A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. I watched in horror as the camera zoomed in on the wreckage. There was suspicion that this was not an accident, that this was an attack. Then it happened. Oh my god! There’s another plane coming! I watched as another plane flew into the second tower crashing sending fear and debris throughout myself and the rest of America. The suspicions seemed to be vastly proving true.
Everything stopped, my heart, time, any cares I had had that day. I was paralyzed, forced to do nothing but watch the moving picture on the screen as flames and smoke billowed from the New York City sky scrapers and people ran in terror through the streets. I don’t know how long I stood there, but my eyes never left the screen. As if what had just happened wasn’t hard enough to grasp, what I witnessed next is now forever indited in my soul. People who were trapped above the wreckage with no hope left were jumping. It was a breaking sight to see.
When I thought it couldn’t get any worse as if in slow motion I watched as the tower crumbled. I could almost hear the screams and feel the terror as a tornado of soot, ash, and ruins traveled downward. Images of the city that never sleeps blanketed with what looked like snow showed over and over. People holding on to one another helping each other out of the debris storm crying in fear and sadness. I could only imagine the number of lives that had just been lost. Unable to hold it, I fell.
My heart ached. Why would someone do this to us? Who would want to hurt us? Fear had only begun to settle in because I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of the situation. When it was time to go to my next class some us decided we would go across the street to the tiny church and grieve unable to think of anything else to do. Apparently the word spread because the entire school followed to do the same. Everyone from jocks, preps, teachers, and punks joined together in this holy house to find strength in one another. We were all brought together as one.
Over the next few days I learned of everything that had happened. The planes had been hijacked. The Pentagon had been hit. Flight 93 had crashed in Pennsylvania. The President declared we were under attack. And thousands of innocent lives had been lost. It didn’t strike home until the recruiters came and any one interested in fighting were called to the gym.
We later had an assembly to honor some of my schoolmates who were already enlisted in the armed forces. I watched as two friends did the color guard and presented the flags. Not one dry eye did I witness as these two boys who were now men walked across the gym floor. Consumed by fear and grief, two girls walked to the middle of the gym and kneeled to pray. Not even seconds later, I and some others followed. When I finally looked up I saw all 250 students of my school had all walked to the middle of the gym, kneeled to pray and cry together. I don’t know how long we all sat there holding one another, but it is something I will never forget.
And here we are 10 years later, but I remember everything as if it had just happened the other day. I’ve watched as many friends and those I grew up with were sent away to fight what seems like an endless fight. Luckily I haven’t lost anyone close to me, but I do know many who have lost loved ones.
As each year passes, the wounds heals a little more and we rebuild both physically and emotionally. The Train and I paid tribute to 9/11 during our honeymoon in NYC. It was impossible not to feel a sense of loss as we walked Ground Zero and shed a tear. I know I will never forget what happened.
Please take a moment today to remember those who have over the past 10 years have lost their lives and remember hate does not end wars, love does.
Tell me about you.