Every year, especially now with social media, the question is always asked: Where were you on 9/11/2001? Well, I have told my story to my wife, family, friends, co-workers, and classmates; however, since I am still fresh and new to blogging, I will tell my story to you. It’s the perfect day to do it and I have a message for you all.
When the World Trade Center went down, I was a child in the second grade. I was seven years old at the time. To be honest, I do not remember the school day at all because we did not know anything happened. So, the day went on like a regular school day. Our teacher and the neighboring ones did a surprisingly great job of keeping us in the dark. I don’t really blame them at all for that, because I know that they were still in shock and how do you explain the scope of what happened to a child just watching on? I bet it was tough and it was the right thing to let our parents decipher what happened.
I was checked out of school by my mother around 2pm that day. She seemed scattered, shook up. As a child, you can read your parents like an open book in terms of emotion, especially your mother. I think that goes way back to the development as a developing baby in the womb since we can feel their emotions. That’s another topic for another time, I suppose.
My parents were divorced for a few years at the time. My father was at work at an automotive body shop just going through the day. I know they had TVs in the boss’s office and I’m sure he was keeping up. I asked Mom why we were leaving early, I was totally confused because each day I rode the bus home or got picked up at 3:15 or so by her when she could. She did not say much other than just “we need to get home and watch the television.”
I loved the television at the time and of course that was good news to me! As soon as we got home, my mother’s partner at the time was sitting on the couch watching the television. I could tell that there was a bit of shock, because their normal routine was to watch the weather channel. The television was on CNN and I noticed our next door neighbor was also with us. She was a young lady in her 20s. Her husband was on the road working and she had a newborn baby with her.
Mom told me to “sit down and watch the television, you will see why we brought you home.” So as she paced around to calm herself down, now that I was home and safe, I sat there and absorbed the whole thing. Of course as a child I had a myriad of questions afterward and laid them all out there to be answered.
I was having trouble processing everything. At first I saw the planes hit the towers, that alone was a shocker. You know, I built towers with LEGOs as a young toddler and knocked them down with race cars, Tonka trucks, and yes even airplanes. I didn’t know that could be done in the real world, I was just doing that in my fantasy toddler land.
Next, the two towers collapsing was the next wave of shock. Not only could two planes hit two towers, they completely collapsed! I knew why I was checked out early at that point, but then it got worse!
The third highlight reel was of the Pentagon wing being hit by a plane as well! Afterward, the news went on for about thirty minutes about a state of emergency, the President on the run, and then covering the ground level in New York with the bloodied people arising from the rubble. Wow.
That’s when I started asking questions and processing everything. Once I had a small grasp of what happened, here comes another highlight reel of a plane down in the middle of a field in Pennsylvania.
I wondered what was happening, and if there were just going to be planes on a daily basis flying around and crashing into whatever the hell they wanted to.
That day was the peak of terror in the United States of America. So, I gave you my re-collection of things as a young child. I am surprised I remembered that much but yet I can’t find where I place scissors or office supplies on a day to day basis anymore.
Fast forward to today, I feel confident in saying that we are in a much better place than we were. I saw a Politico article come across my Facebook feed saying something along the lines of “Why aren’t Americans afraid of terror anymore?” Well, let me tell you why.
We had a literal army of citizens who were willing to sign up and go fight for us common folks at a moments notice. That tragic day in 2001 made men out of boys, women out of girls, and then heroes out of men and women alike. Now, I know the whole weapons of mass destruction turned out to be a sham and a big waste of time and very costly in lives, but I will always be forever grateful to those soldiers that went out there anyway. Their heart wanted to defend us and I will never be able to be thankful enough that I can sit here today and tell this story with no fear in my mind.
Also, I sincerely pray for all of the families that were directly and indirectly affected by the tragedy of 9/11. They had no idea what was going to happen and I cannot even imagine the grief and shock. Even today, I pray that they get some comfort spiritually even 17 years later. It’s a shame so many folks were lost that day and for that reason, I will always remember and never forget.
Thank you all for reading my piece about this day. I hope that you all keep those families that were affected as well as the brave men and women that were willing to step up and fight for us, no matter the cost. I know things got messy with Iraq and Afghanistan but they still had the heart to do what many of us are either unable or unwilling to do.
I will post again tomorrow, so have a great rest of the day!