Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Remembrance: September 11

Ten years ago I woke up thinking everything was normal. I was a sophomore at Norman High and getting ready to go to percussion sectionals for marching band. It was an early morning for me. So I was in the band building practicing some tune on the xylophone. We are going to band as normal and  and that rush of people going to their classes, building to building, someone says a plane flew into a building in New York. None of us believed them at first, and the shock of everything that was to come,  completely blanks out the face of that individual in my mind. When they start going into detail about a hijacking, terrorist attacks, no it's not a joke, the building is destroyed and we need to hurry to class. My body starts feeling numb and I'm no longer hearing anything around me.

We were on block schedule back then, A days and B days. It was an A day. Every teacher that could had a TV in their room with the news on. Some tried to conduct class, but most had discussions, or we sat in silence waiting for more news. Anger, hurt, confusion and sadness were all consuming and I had a million questions as I sat there in disbelief, class after class. By the time I got to my second class of the day the second tower had already been hit and we all knew this wasn't an accident. This was a bad dream, a nightmare, how could this be true...The second I got home, I threw down my bag and turned on my little 11 inch TV in my room, soaking in all the news, all the video, the sound bites. Over and over, repeatedly, trying to understand how and why.

In all the commotion, Channel 9 News played a video that hadn't been screened and I sat there, 15 years old, watching people jump out of the tower, the same kind of clip we'd be watching all day, but in this one you could hear them screaming, you could hear everything. I sat there. I cried and cried and didn't know what to do. I felt so completely helpless.

I only remember a few things from the rest of the week: the next day we had a timed writing in my English class. She said we couldn't stop class just because someone did something stupid. I can't remember ever being so angry at her ignorance and lack of sensitivity. My Spanish 2 class that normally didn't utter English was nothing but that, on the second day. The teacher pulled out a map of the world showing us where the terrorists were thought to be from. We discussed the events, our feelings, what this could all mean. I remember going to lunch with my friends Richard and Alex in Richard's little white Nissan. I have no idea where we went, I only remember being silent for what seemed like the entire week and people asking me if I was ok.

Papa was in Washington D.C. on usual business, and of course Uncle David was in New York on  that day. We instantly heard Papa was fine, but it took five days to hear from Uncle David.

Earlier that year in my history class, the teacher had showed us newspapers of other events in history. Things she or her parents had collected and saved over the years; the day Kennedy was shot for example. How important it was to not forget the big events. I kept every newspaper with a picture of the twin towers I could find. I still have them, stowed away in a little red box, safe and sound. Any time they see the light of day, it brings a sadness and an anger to my heart.

I'm not as angry about it anymore, but the sadness seems to consume me at the mention of it, especially on the anniversary every year. I'll never forget that day as long as I live. My friends going off to fight as soon as they could, getting out of high school early if they were 18 to hurry and get over there. People say that my generation is full of naive, irresponsible people, but my friends were and still are the ones over there fighting for everything we believe in. It's our turn, and we haven't let the ball drop yet.

Taken from the Empire State Building

Taken from Staten Island Spring 2001