Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later and it Still Hits Hard...

I walked into the school on just another Tuesday that morning. A few of my friends and I had missed a Spanish quiz and had gone to Senor Hoof's room to make it up. We started 15 min before 8 and I was almost finished when Senor Hoof ran into the room and told us to go ahead and turn the quiz in, we would be able to finish it later. He went straight to the television and turned it on.

I really wasn't sure what I was looking at when the screen faded into a crisp picture of the NY skyline. Then one by one, my classmates and I noticed the smoke billowing from one of the World Trade Center towers. We were dumb struck almost. As more students filed in for class to begin, the news anchors were just as dumb founded as we were, trying to make since of the picture we were seeing. Then we saw a dark figure, that looked like a large plane, fly in the shot from the right of the screen and a huge explosion rocked the second WTC tower. There was screaming, shouting and chaos going on all around me and I was frozen in all my emotions. Fear, anger, and grief were running though my veins. about ten minutes later the word terrorism was being mentioned, and we couldn't believe it. My classmates and I had been alive for the Pan Am flight 103 bombing in 1988, WTC bombing of 1993, and the OKC Bombing 1995, but this was the first time we were really old enough to understand what was going on. None of us said a word after the initial shock of seeing the plane hit, we just watched.

After about 20 minutes, Senor Hoof said we needed to get to work. He told us that probably nothing else would happen. About 15 min before the class was scheduled to end, the principal walked in and handed a memo to Senor Hoof. As he read it silently to himself, you could see the disbelief in his face. Then he started to read:

"Students and Teachers, as you have probably heard by now, the United States has suffered a great tragedy this Tuesday morning. Three planes have hit the WTC towers 1 and 2 and the Pentagon. Just moments ago, both towers fell. There is no telling the loss of life that has occurred this morning. As much as this news will affect all of you in different ways, there is no cause for alarm here. We will keep you updated on events throughout the day. May God Bless America"

I was crying before he finished reading the letter. I thought there would be more attacks that day. We didn't know what to think. The rest of the day was eerie. The hallways were silent all day. We tried to hurry from class to class, so that we could still watch the news as it was unfolding. President Bush spoke from Barksdale that afternoon (which is less that an hour away). On the band field shortly after his speech, we could have sworn those fighter jets scrambling in the sky were leading Air Force One to its undisclosed location. I went to Softball practice that evening still in a daze. September 11, 2001 will be a day I will never forget.

Ten years later, and I can still see those images. I can still see the football player that sat in front of me trying to hide his tears as they replayed the second plane hit. Ten years ago the United States was united under a banner of hope and sorrow for those lost in this horrendous tragedy that happened on our watch. So many times, I wonder where that America went. Have we forgotten the unity that occurred, or have we, like those after the 1993 bombing, just gotten so far removed from the tragedy that we no longer sense the urgency that is still prevalent today?

As I remember my experiences, the emotions still hit hard. The fear, the anger and the sorrow are all still so raw for me. The tears running down my face right now (that make it rather difficult to pen my last few words) show those emotions rather well.

Have the last ten year changed you life? Because they sure did change mine!

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