Eleven years ago today, I went to school like any other day. I was in high school, I think the beginning of my sophomore year. Emotionally, that was going to be one of the hardest years for me but I didn't realize it at the time. I had a Spanish test and I honestly can't remember whether I had prepared well for it. Knowing myself, I probably had barely reviewed anything. There was nothing special about that day.
I remember taking my test and hearing a commotion. My teacher promised us if we all finished our tests early she would turn on the news. All we knew was that there had been some sort of attack. We didn't finish our tests in time so I left class with conflicting knowledge. My next class was a study hall and we had a few computers we could use. Someone started hitting the news sites just in time to hear that the towers had fallen. My school forbade from turning on the TVs all day because a student had parents who were in the towers that day. I honestly can't remember if their parents survived but I think they may have.
I went through the rest of the day acting like teenagers do, acting like since I didn't know anyone personally, I was far removed from it. When I got home I turned on the news, watched the footage, and just cried for hours. By the time my mom got home I couldn't take it anymore and had turned off the news. She could see I'd been crying but never really mentioned it. That was the last time I voluntarily watched coverage of it. I once read emails and sent back and forth between people in the different towers just before they fell. The one that struck me the most was a conversation between a husband and wife who each worked in a different tower. If I remember correctly, one of them never made it out and at that point I removed myself from all coverage I could.
For weeks I saved all magazines about the tragedy but never opened them. I put them away in storage hoping one day I would be able to look at them. It wasn't until my senior year of high school when I had to do a project on the human condition that I finally removed them from their storage bin. My project was on the human condition of violence and courage in the face of violence. I sat there and sobbed as I painstakingly cut out pictures from that day and other days of tragedy and put them into a scrapbook. I got an A on that project, but in a way it scarred me a bit. I am a naturally optimistic person and it's hard to see what people can do to each other.
Eight years ago today, I met my husband for the very first time. Finally I had a happy memory to associate with the date 9/11. Honestly, I think that was the day my innocence truly died. Never forget those who died that day nor those who have died since then fighting the war that came afterwards. My best friend was in Afghanistan for six months and even though she was on base the entire time, she was stationed in a place nicknamed Rocket City and for good reason. The biggest relief ever was getting the call from her that she was home safe.
Please remember all of the fallen and say a prayer for those still stationed overseas. But also take time to remember the good memories that have happened. If we live our lives in fear, we are never truly living.