Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We Will Never Forget

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Sunday was the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our nation that took the lives of over 3000 innocent American people. As a 12 year old who was struggling on dreaded homework, I’m ashamed to say that I was just relived to get to put math away for a while.

I was sitting on the couch in my living room, trying to make sense of fractions. My mom came in from outside in a rush, having somehow heard of the attacks, and turned on the TV.

At first, all I saw was some building in New York that was on fire – I didn't even know what the World Trade Center was. Suddenly, there was a second plane, swooping out of the sky. It turned and sliced into the second tower, showering glass and debris onto the streets below.

I watched in sickening silence, trying desperately to understand what I was seeing as a handful of people jumped out of the skyscrapers to their certain doom. What was going on? Didn't airplanes get hijacked all the time? Who were terrorists? Why would someone do such a thing as this? The television screen showed President Bush sitting in a classroom. Shouldn’t he be doing something? Anything?

Living in the heart of South Dakota, I had grown up knowing a serenity that most cannot imagine. But on that day, the white noise from hundreds of jet planes was suddenly gone from the skies and I learned that, even far from the big city noise, the air could be even stiller. I remember that it seemed like even birds quitted their song, as if they knew what tragedy had befallen the earth.

As the day wore on and I watched the madness unfold on CNN, I pulled out a brand new composition notebook and began writing about all the confusion I saw and of things I did not yet understand.

I'm sure that notebook is put away with my other elementary musings, hidden deep in the corner of a closet somewhere, in a box covered with dust. It contains the thoughts of a puzzled preteen about the world on a day it stood still.

I hope that’s not what has happened to the memory of 9/11. People may still be confused, but they should never forget. They should keep those 3000 some people in remembrance not just because they were fellow Americans, but because they were fellow human beings.

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