I can’t believe it’s already been seventeen years since 9/11. There are kids in high school right now who weren’t even born when it happened. There are also people like my brother who were way too young to remember what happened that day. I remember.
I was in first grade playing in the computer lab that morning. I think I was playing a game called Kid Pix. It was sort of like a better version of Microsoft Paint for kids. You could draw all kinds of stuff and the computer lab lady would let us print off our masterpieces and take them home. After our computer lab time was over, we went back to class but on the way there, I remembered that I had forgotten my print out in the computer lab and asked to go back and get it.
When I got back to the computer lab, the lady had the TV on. She had her hand over her mouth and looked like she was about to cry. I don’t think she even knew I was there. I looked at the TV and saw a tall building on fire. At first, I didn’t understand what was going on. I thought maybe there was just a big fire going on. I could read enough of the words flashing on screen to figure out that an airplane had flown into the tower. It wasn’t too long after that the computer lab lady and I watched the second plane fly into the South tower.
I left a sobbing woman in the computer lab and ran back to my classroom. I didn’t know why this was happening but I figured America was under attack. I didn’t know if Texas or even my little elementary school was going to be hit but I had to warn my class. I threw the door open and told my teacher that two big planes had flown into buildings in New York. I didn’t know they were called the Twin Towers and I didn’t know what else to tell her. She thought I was making it up.
Word of the attack quickly spread around the school and we were all sent home early. My parents came and got me. They were pretty much silent and in disbelief the entire car ride home. My little sister didn’t know what was happening and my little brother was just a baby. We got back to our trailer and watched the rest of the coverage on the news.
The rest of my memories from that time period are pretty scattered but I have a crystal clear memory of where I was and what was going on when those planes hit the towers. It’s seared into my mind and every year that wound is made fresh again. I was made aware that there were people out there who hated my way of life, who hated my freedom, and who hated me. I was scared but I was also determined to never let them succeed and to never forget the lives taken and the sacrifices made that September morning.
I will never forget the heroism of the first responders and the passengers of Flight 93. They showed that Americans live and die for one another and will NEVER go down without a fight.
I will never forget the way our country united in the aftermath of that tragic day. I’ve never felt as much of a sense of unity, comraderie, and patriotism as I did immediately following that day. Instead of tearing us apart, this tragic event brought us closer together than ever before.
I will never forget 9/11.
Each year, my throat closes up and tears fill my eyes and I remember.
It’s the least we can do.