Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago Today

How often is it that you remember a particular moment from a particular day, many years in the past? Most people couldn't tell you what they ate for breakfast two days ago, but ask so many Americans what they were doing 10 years ago today, and you will surely get a story.

It was just the second week of school, and only a few days after my eighth birthday. I was sitting in Mrs. S' second grade classroom, gazing out the window while we reviewed spelling words, when the phone rang. The tone in my teacher's voice changed from a cheery "Hello?" to one of saddened shock in an instant. I knew something was up. As I looked out the window my gaze rested on a parked car. "Maybe there was a car accident," I thought. It was the most terrible thing my eight year old brain could think of. My curious little mind was anxious to learn  what was going on, but the day progressed as normal. I eventually forgot all about the phone call and went about my day. 

Later, my best friends and I were on the playground at recess when a familiar looking woman approached me. She introduced herself as the teacher of our school's gifted program, and informed me that my mother had come to pick me up early. This sounded odd to me, as my mother was not one to surprise us like that, but nonetheless I headed back into the school to pack up my bag. I walked to the office and was greeted by my mother and the guidance counselor and, among them, several other parents. They explained to me that a news station had erroneously reported that my school district was closing early, and that I would not be leaving early after all. This news left me confused. Why would the news even think we were closing early? My mind went back to the phone call and my thoughts regarding it. Maybe it was a car accident, and maybe someone in school was involved. I began to grow anxious.

Finally, the end of the day came. As we drove home, my mother told my brother Matt, a fourth grader, and I, of the events of that day. She explained that a bad passenger on a plane had taken control of what the pilot was supposed to do in what was called a hijacking, and that the plane had crashed into some very important buildings. I was thoroughly confused. Why would someone who didn't know how to fly a plane try to fly one? Why did the pilot let them?

Ten years later, I now hold a much better understanding of what happened on that fateful day in 2001. America was viciously and horrifically attacked in the hopes of eradicating the freedoms and ideals that we have shared in the past, and will continue to share proudly with the world. Through the tragic loss of thousands, and the chaos endured by those who survived, the attackers believed that they could beat down and ruin America. It is part of what makes me so proud of my country to be able to say that these evil people were not successful. In the wake of great sorrow and tragedy, Americans banded together in a time of patriotism and pride for the great nation that they call home.

If today you are remembering the life of a loved one lost on 9/11, I would like to share my condolences. The brave fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and friends who lost their lives that day are remembered fondly not only by those who knew them, but by an entire country, as we mourn this solemn day.

As tragedy rages on in the background, Lady Liberty stands tall, as a symbol of  America's undying freedom and strength to persevere through even the most horrific and devastating of events.


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