Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th: Remembered

I was watching CNN this morning while nursing my infant daughter, and of course, they were covering the annual memorial service conducted at Ground Zero. Mayor Bloomberg asked us to remember where we were eight years ago today and how news of the attacks reached us, and so I decided to record that here.

Eight years ago today, I was seventeen years old. My senior year of high school had just begun, and I was getting ready for school. I was also getting ready for a trip to the airport. My cousin was leaving on his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; he was headed to Brazil, and we were planning on going to the terminal to see him off.

So I was blow-drying my hair upstairs when I heard my mother, who watches the news every morning and (two or three times) every night, let out an involuntary gasp. I hurried downstairs to see what was going on and arrived in front of the television screen just in time to see the second plane hit live. We watched in silence for several minutes, and then my mother told me that I needed to finish getting ready for school, as my carpool was only minutes from arriving. I was going to go to first period, and then my parents were going to check me out for a few hours so we could drive downtown to the airport (suffice it to say, we never made it).

My first-period teacher often listened to the local news broadcast on the radio before class; on September 11, 2001, she never turned it off. It was from that broadcast that I learned that the Pentagon had also been hit. In another class I watched the first tower fall, then the second. When I got home from school, I learned that there had been a fourth plane, Flight 93, that had gone down somewhere in Pennsylvania.

I remember thinking that it was all very surreal. In my first-period class, I wondered if the world was coming to an end. As I watched those towers fall, it felt like I was watching a movie, not real life. But it wasn't a movie, as the residents of New York, Washington, D.C., and a small town in Pennsylvania can heartily attest. And the world didn't come to an end. Still, September 11th changed everything. It changed me.

So now I ask the same question Mayor Bloomberg asked: Where were you?

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