Where were you?
On September 11th, I was in high school. I wonder, now, how much of my memory has been embellished with time. They called us all into the auditorium and we, being the children we were, laughed and jostled each other as we walked down the hallway.
As we took our seats, they rolled televisions in on those rolling metal shelves – you know the ones that were a quintessential part of learning in the early 2000s – with a VCR underneath. The televisions themselves were big and clunky. Despite that, we strained to see what was showing on the screens from our positions near the back of the room.
Clouds of dust and plumes of smoke rose from the tops of buildings while we watched and we struggled to comprehend what had happened. We fell silent and a somber mood crowded in because, while we didn’t quite understand it, we knew that whatever had happened was serious.
No explanations came from any of the adults in the room. As an adult today, I can better understand their response (or lack thereof) and the shock they themselves must have been felt.
I couldn’t tell you at what point I came to understand what had actually taken place, or when it ceased to be surreal but…
20 years on and it feels like it happened yesterday.
20 years on and it’s still sinking it.20 years on and the effects of the tragedy continue to have a resounding effect on our world.
And 20 years hence…we will still never forget.
My husband, Matt, and I visited the memorial earlier this year and I felt sadness of a kind I have never felt before. It was almost like palpable and collective grief was drifting up from the stones beneath my feet. Maybe this is why I don’t have a single photograph from the visit.
9/11 was meant to unite us and it did – for a time. I pray we can get back to that, without having to undergo another tragedy of that kind.