Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today

On September 11th, 2001, I was 15 years old and a tenth grader in high school. That morning started just like every other morning. My mother woke me up, I ate breakfast, and left for school. My first class of the day was U.S. History with my all-time favorite teacher Mr. Jones. In the middle of his lecture, one of the football coaches stopped outside the classroom door, and said we should turn on the news because a plane had just hit a tower in NYC.

There was a small TV behind the teacher's desk, and we all turned our desks around to watch the broadcast. We saw the smoke billowing up from the tower and the gaping hole the plane had made. And only a few minutes after turning on the TV, we saw the second plane hit the South Tower.

At the time, I didn't know what the twin towers were and "Terrorism" never crossed my mind. I thought it was just some terrible, terrible accident. I had no frame of reference for terrorism. I had no frame of reference for war, Bin Laden, or Al-Qaeda. And I only had a vague notion of unrest in the Middle East.

But once it came out that it was indeed terrorism many students, including myself, were worried for our parents. In the town I am from in Alabama, many people work for a huge government base, which could potentially have been a target. Teens lined up at the pay phones and tried to call their parents, I tried to call my mother. No one could get a hold of anyone. Later, we learned this was because they were all encouraged to take shelter.

The rest of the day went by in a haze. We continued on with our classes, but did no work in any of them. We watched TV in every class, and in German class the teacher led an in-depth conversation on what it all meant. The news just seemed to worsen as the day went on-the towers collapsed, a plane hit the pentagon,  and one had been crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

I remember being most disturbed by the footage of some people in the Middle East dancing in the street and celebrating what had happened. That was really hard to comprehend as a 15 year old and even harder to comprehend now.

On my trip to NYC last summer, I visited Ground Zero with a tour guide that had been there that day. And even staring at the site and listening to his story, it was hard to imagine or comprehend the horrors that went on that day. Yet, I will never forget where I was on 9-11-2001.

Ground Zero, June 2011

Song of the Day: American Pie by Don Mclean

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