Ten years ago today around this time I was walking down the street to my house. I had just gotten off the bus after spending the day at school where I just began the 8th grade. I was 12. During the day, I briefly heard about a plane crash. Already afraid of planes, I didn’t really think anything of it – since the reasoning of my plane phobia was that they could crash… The last thing I wanted to hear or think about was a plane crashing.
Throughout the day, it became apparent that the crash was more than “just a crash.” However, the school wasn’t telling us anything so I went home almost clueless. When I arrived home, I realized that something major had happened.
As I walked down my street, I heard someone crying in a house nearby. When I walked in my house, it was quiet. My mom and 2 year old brother were home. She didn’t want to have the television on at that point anymore, but after she told me what had happened, I needed to see for myself. It was then that I saw the footage of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center buildings for the first time – a video that would forever be ready to play in the back of my mind… but would rarely ever be turned on. I vaguely remember the rest of that day. I was young – too young – as most of us twenty something were. I know I didn’t watch much news footage, as my mom didn’t want the television on in front of my younger brothers… and the only thing on television was the news. No regular programming was on any station.
The school was not allowed to tell us what had happened because a mother of two students was supposed to be on one of the flights. Luckily, she was not – but that is why I did not know what had happened. I remember making comments at lunch about a plane crash, but not in a serious manner at all.
After 9/11 our lives were forever different, and as twenty somethings we grew up in this “new way of life.” Of course there were a few changes that year for me. As 8th graders, we were supposed to go on our “8th grade trip” to Washington D.C. at the end of the year. Since we were not allowed to go there, we went to Philly and Baltimore instead. My family was booked to go on the Disney Cruise in December, but since no one was flying or vacationing, we didn’t go. Cheerleading practice and dance class was canceled for a few days. My favorite television shows were not being aired. When I think of popular songs from that year, I remember DJ Sammy’s “Heaven” – the 9/11 remix. You know… the slow version where the little girl talks about her father dying… Just THINKING about that song brings tears to my eyes.
The worst part for me is that I am now afraid of almost everything. When I was younger, I didn’t have a care in the world, and that is probably because I wasn’t constantly keeping up with the news (not to mention I now work in television news). So it’s kind of obvious that my twenty something self is a bit different. If I was 22 when all of this happened, I would have been more afraid at the time. I would have understood what was going on better. And the news footage would have stuck with me in a different way. Now, as I watch documentaries and news footage from back then, I wonder what was going through my 12 year old head.
There was a positive through all of this though. Our country came together as one. Flags were everywhere. My dance recital’s theme that year was “United We Dance.” I don’t think I can remember any of the other recital themes in all the years I danced… but I remember that one. All songs in the recital that year related to USA pride and unity.
Although remembering 9/11 ten years later may be hard and bring back horrific memories, we must remember that anything can happen at any time. We all need to spend more time living than fearing. Everything is meant to happen for a reason. I was always afraid to fly… and if 9/11 didn’t happen, I would still be afraid to fly.
Us twenty somethings should be especially proud to be Americans. We grew up in a time of unity with the greatest troops and nation pride. And ten years later (I cannot believe it has been 10 years), as twenty somethings, we are still thanking those of you who fight/have fought for our country. We thank you for risking your lives for us on a daily basis. God Bless America.
Where were you on 9/11? Post your thoughts/memories in the comments.
9/11/01 – Never forget.