Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where Were You?

I was fourteen-years-old. I remember walking off the school bus, down the sidewalk and as soon as I entered the building I felt sick and tired. My normal routine before the first bell was to walk around the school a few times to wake myself up, but I didn't feel like it this time. My book bag wasn't full, but I felt like something was weighing down on me. My body felt heavy. I sat through Geometry, not paying attention because I was tired and for whatever reason I had this feeling. At the bell, I walked out into the hall to meet my friends on our way to English. I remember saying to my best friends, Liz and Jennifer, "Something bad is going to happen to today."

Not even halfway through English class, Principal Cox came over the intercom to tell us two hijacked planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. I couldn't remember ever hearing the word "hijack" and it took me a few seconds to remember what the World Trade Center was. Mr. Mallory turned on the TV, but we didn't get reception. He turned on a radio and we listened to people talking, but we weren't understanding.  A teacher next door invited us to his classroom to watch the news, and there they were. Two buildings I had seen just months before, not far from where my Grandmother lives and my father grew up, were burning. It finally sunk in for us that this was serious and it was bad, but something was connecting for us. It was unreal. I remember watching the towers collapse. It took me several minutes to finally understand those buildings were gone.

I don't think we learned anything those next few days. Teachers wanted to watch the news and students wanted to watch the video over and over again. The phrase "under attack" was strange, yet that's all we kept hearing. By the end of the day I was scared and angry, but I finally understood what it meant to be an American and love my country. Everyone remembers where they were and what they felt on 9/11, it's the one memory that feels like yesterday. It's also the one memory that brings us together as a country, despite our differences. In this election year, the biggest of my short lifetime, I hope we can forget who is red or blue and remember we are all red, white, and blue. I hope we can remember the families who lost loved ones and remember those who died fighting to save others. I hope it's a day for those who are suffering through whatever circumstance to remember the United States of America is the greatest nation in the world. Though the images are terrifying and heartbreaking, we must NEVER FORGET what happened or how we came together as a nation.

Probably the most extraordinary thing I remember about that day is when President Bush spoke these words, "These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat...but they have failed."

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
Pasalm 23:4

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