Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 Years Later... Remembering September 11th, 2001

So... I wasn't going to post anything, but I thought perhaps I should. No politics. Not today.

For those of you who may not be aware of it, today is the anniversary of the attacks on the WTC & the Pentagon. It's probably the only day that I can remember exactly where I was...

It was the beginning of 8th grade, first class of the day, and I was sitting in reading class, in a clean, black desk right by our teacher... We were going over a story, and a quiz... and suddenly, every 5-10 minutes, small groups of children were being called down to the principal's office. No one knew why. Naturally, we began to panic. Did something happen? Why won't they tell us what's going on?  Someone came to the classroom to talk to our teacher. She came back, suddenly very concerned, and told us to stay calm, that they didn't want the younger kids to hear us and worry. They would make an announcement, but something very terrible had happened. The children who were being called down... their parents were involved. Soon after, another announcement came over the PA system-- the principal, in a very somber tone, told us that a plane had crashed into the WTC building... that they didn't know many details... And then, moments later, the second plane hit.

I remember sitting there, in shock, hoping not to get a call and trying to sort out in my mind what was going on... & I remember someone turning on the radio, trying to find some more details. I remember watching it on TV, and how just a few years ago my sisters and I had taken a picture with the towers in the background. I found it recently... I still have it. From some parts of my town, by South Amboy and up towards the Hudson, you could see the smoke. It seems so far away, but we could see the smoke... To me, to us-- NYC, & the entire country, the entire world, was changed forever. I remember this the most, that in spite of all of our differences, at that point, we were all the same. We all felt the same things, we worked together instead of against each other, we cried together... united.

And I remember how bad I felt that my 13th birthday party was that weekend... when we were all in mourning, & there I was asking people to celebrate something that suddenly seemed so trivial. After families were destroyed, and friends were killed.  My father worked near there, and I can't even begin to describe how I felt when I heard there was an attack in Manhattan. He was supposed to be in that building later. He was lucky... he was just home a few hours late. Other fathers weren't. And afterwards, tens-of-thousands were tortured and killed abroad because of the actions of 19 extremists. So many have died and suffered. It's 9 years later, and the pain doesn't stop. Reliving this now, reliving the fear, and the collective anguish... It's hard not to cry. That day, it was like the world stopped. Everything was silent...

And even now, it's not over. It's something I think about every single time I see the NYC skyline. It looks so empty. 9 years later, I haven't been there yet... I can't. I remember the statues standing in Port Authority for years, and the plans for the memorial... The memorial still isn't built, but it could never replace who was there. Something's missing. We won't get it back.

I won't be one of those people who says "never forget," because to some extent, I want to. As my mother told me that weekend, eventually life has to go on. It's the way they would have wanted it. It hurts, and it's scary, but we can't lose hope, or let pain and fear control us forever. We can't continue to live in the past. And we certainly can't blame everyone for the actions of a few. I don't want "never forget" to be "never forgive."

We miss you.

No comments: