Remembering September 11
The tenth anniversary of September 11 is right around the corner. Somehow, it seems like forever ago and just last week, all at the same time. I have to say that I have an entirely different perspective on the event at this point than I did when it actually happened.
The morning of September 11, 2001, I was seventeen, in my senior year of high school. I was in biology lab, and I vividly remember that I was dissecting a fetal pig, because it was disgusting. One of my classmates raced in, yelling that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and something about fires on the National Mall and that they were pretty sure the world was ending. My reaction was pretty much a frightened and confused “huh?” but then it was time to change classes, and I went to English class, and there the teacher turned on the TV. He turned it on just a few minutes before the second tower fell.
Dead silence in the room. We were all scared. It was hard to believe that something so unbelievably catastrophic could be happening less than two hours away from where we sat.
All day, we watched news coverage, and then I went home and watched some more. For me, it was the first time in my young adult life that I could tell that no one in authority really knew what to do or say. The newscasters seemed bewildered. My parents seemed stunned. Everyone seemed afraid. My mom hesitantly told me that I should stop watching it, but then she sat down and watched it with me. No one knew what to do and to a kid, who is used to following and obeying, that is a really scary and unsettling thing to realize.
That day, I was a kid. On this tenth anniversary of that day, I have a kid. I live in a completely different world now than I did then. (Although I guess, in a way, we all do.)
What would I say to her, if this happened again, and she was the one who was seventeen? If it happened while she was preparing to leave home for the first time in her life to go to college several states away, like I did? It’s a terrifying thing, when it dawns on you that something so terrible has happened that your parents cannot protect you and in fact, they are terrified themselves. How do you explain to a kid the concept of evil?
I have no idea. And I hope that I never have to figure it out.