Remembering 9/11, 10 years later

I really liked Brittany’s post about September 11th, so I thought I would add my own account.

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since that day. Like Brittany, I was in 8th grade and at the same school. I guess because my mom drove me to school instead of taking the bus, I knew what had happened before I got there. My mom almost always watched Good Morning America while she got ready in the mornings, but I thought it was strange when I came downstairs to find her just standing in front of the TV. They were replaying footage of the plane hitting the first tower, and the first thought in my head was, “how on earth could a pilot hit a building that big?”

I didn’t find out that it was a terrorist attack until I got to school. There was supposed to be a district-wide ban on watching the news, but we managed to convince a few of our teachers to turn it on, and news quickly spread of new developments throughout the day. Because I lived in Texas at the time and George W. Bush is from there, a lot of students began worrying that Texas was going to be attacked next. It was a scary day, to say the least.  My dad, who traveled very regularly for his job was not traveling that day, thank God, and I didn’t know anyone in New york or DC. But later that day, when my parents were talking to my brother and I about what had happened, I remember being terrified that this might be the beginning of a world war. My memory from that day is so clear, I sometimes forget that I was only 14. I was old enough to understand what was going on, but young enough to be terrified and overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. One of the most poignant memories I have of that day is actually from the day after. I can’t remember exactly what the topic was, but on September 10, my history class was watching a powerpoint lecture. The next time I had that class was on September 12. The powerpoint came to a picture of the Twin Towers, and somebody said “Those aren’t there anymore,” which was followed by complete silence. For a generation that came after Pearl Harbor, it was a stunning reminder of how drastically the world can be altered in one day.

I can’t imagine what this day is like for those who did lose a friend or loved on on September 11. In a way, this day is our generation’s Pearl Harbor, and the nation will never be the same. But I like what my friend Denise had to say about that:

“…As I reflect on how our country has changed since that day, it compels me to remind people not to live in fear. If we do, they have won.”

We were attacked, and the terrorists did manage to devastate thousands of lives. But they didn’t win. America is changed but undaunted, and we are still the greatest country on earth.

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