I felt that it was right to do a little public remembering. I never talked about 9/11 and how I was involved the last three years I have been posting, but the time is right, now, ten years out.
In 2001, was 8 years old and just starting third grade. Since it was a Tuesday, it was the second of week of school.
I woke up at 8am to get ready to catch the bus to get to school by 9am. I remember walking into my living room, my dad was sitting on the couch and my mom was behind him. He was watching CNN I think, and on the screen, there was a building that was smoking. I had never heard of The Twin Towers, the World Trade Center, before that. I knew planes could crash, though crashing into a ridiculously tall building is probably easier than it was to crash into a smaller one, it was unlikely.
I didn’t feel to too concerned. It didn’t feel like it was affecting me in the morning that day. I was just standing behind the couch watching the news about how a plane hit a building. As my parents explained though, I might have began to understand the purpose of the Trade Center.
The moment when I knew it didn’t just happen randomly was when I witnessed the second plane hit the other tower. The news was regularly discussing some pointless thing, as they always do even now, and the second plane comes into the view. There were about two seconds between entering the frame and colliding. At that moment, I knew. I knew it was on purpose. Nobody can not-miss a giant building twice. It’s impossible. It was a moment of realization that it was not an accident, it was not chance, it was clearly orchestrated. Even as an 8 year old, turning 9 in November, I knew these things to be true and I clearly remember thinking these things.
I went to school that morning. Nobody was really talking about it on the bus, or if they were, they weren’t talking to me. Maybe kids didn’t watch the news in those days. At school, in the class, with Mr. Young, I’m sure we heard about it though. I was early so I was watching with him, on the continuing coverage. Maybe it was there that I heard about the other planes.
Later that day, around lunch time and our normal recess, someone began talking over the PA-system. They explained what had happened to the towers briefly, but they also canceled our recess because it was unsafe. Unsafe? I know I thought this too, if a plane was going to hit a school, like those hitting the towers, it wouldn’t matter.
I remember feeling absolutely comfortable at school. When I was younger, I couldn’t figure out how it was possible. Why? 9/11 happened on Tuesday in what is likely the second week of school, so I would have already gone to school five days prior to the event. Was I able to be accustomed to my grade, teacher, room and new friends that fast? Apparently I was. I look back on that day and I don’t remember feeling out of place or feeling trepidation.
I don’t remember when the Towers fell. Maybe it was when I got back home at 4:15pm that day. Or at least, that’s when I saw it happen. I’m not sure. After that, I start to forgo certainty that I remember anything. In the following days, I’m sure I heard coverage on the events, on the Pentagon, the other crash and the entire attack. In fact, that’s probably when I heard it being called an attack.
In writing, this isn’t my very best description of my recollection of events. But it suffices, I think, to illuminate my place in 9/11. In my mind, I replay the scenes in better detail and clarity. I remember things that are not fitting towards a short narrative. These memories were of an 8 year old too, after all. Whatever I knew to be true then has changed by the colored perspective of who I am now.
Once I came up with this idea. When I think back on memories, I end up cauterizing them making them impotent. Maybe this happened with these memories too. Who knows?
Everyone says they have a memory of the biggest catastrophic event in their lives. So that, so far, is mine. But not really. As far as I am concerned, my life was relatively unchanged. Sure, I had to take my shoes off when I went to California four years later. Sure, I couldn’t wave my dad off at the Airport’s terminal when he had to attend his father’s funeral. So security changed. That’s not the impact I think everyone else claims they experience and feel.
Do I feel less free? Do I feel more proud?
Age has made me feel more free than ever before. I’m in college and I’m making course altering decisions every waking moment and I recognize them and their significance as well as I can when I make those choices. Do I feel more proud? Of the United States? Of our unwavering patriotism? Maybe. I like having flags. It’s the least I can do. There is no better place to live, but even with 9/11 as a catalyst for a paradigm shift, where history was before and after, it amounted to too little too late, perhaps, ten years out.
Have a great day, and a good week.
A lot of visitors are finding this page by searching for 9/11 images. The image I used above is doubtless under someone’s copyright protection. I absolutely admit I am using it without permission. If that is your image and you have verifiable rights on that image, I will remove it on request.