I recall how carefree I was that morning. Ready to go to school. It was a Tuesday. It was one of two days during the week that I got leave my elementary school and go to the Stuart Gifted Learning Center . We were discussing stress relieving techniques. How appropriate, right?
My teacher got a call on the classroom phone and immediately turns on the television to ABC. I see a two tall buildings. One with bellows of dark smoke coming from it. The reporter is saying, “…it appears that a plane has crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. We are not sure if this is an accident or a planned event…” And then I joined thousands of Americans and watched a plane come into view. A plane aimed at the second building. United Airlines Flight 175 then hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
It became very real to me in that moment as I am sure it did to all those watching, that this was no accident. That this was a coordinated attack. I didn’t understand why. I didn’t understand how. All I knew is that it had happened and that my country would never be the same from that moment on.
It wasn’t too long after that I learned of the attack on the Pentagon and the flight that had crashed in Pennsylvania.
I am not sure how a 5th grader was supposed to comprehend the events that took place that day. I am not sure how anyone was supposed to comprehend the events that took place that day. In that moment, at that age, all I thought about was how sorry I felt for those immediately affected and how this event was going to alter my world.
I was in 5th grade 10 years ago. Now I am a junior in college. Hard to believe that much time has passed. Now, on the 10 year anniversary I consider so much more than I did back then. I think about the people on the planes who knew they were being hijacked, but not what was going to happen. The fear and confusion they must have felt. The calls made to loved ones in those last minutes. I think about the people in the buildings. Some who probably saw these planes coming towards them. Some who were completely caught off guard. I think about the civilians on the street going about their daily routine who saw these planes strike. What must have been going through their minds. I consider the family members and friends of the people on those flights. What they must have felt when they heard those flight numbers and realized that their husband, daughter, best friend had been on one of those planes.
The raw emotion experienced by so many people within our nation that day for so many different reasons. It is difficult for me to wrap my mind around it even today.
As a nation, we were together. Race, background, gender, religion, sexual orientation- it all took a backseat. We were one. 10 years later, I think we have lost sight of that togetherness. Once the ashes settled and the clean-up began, the separation set in. The scapegoating and blaming took precedence. I wish we could get back to that togetherness.
I think we have also lost a sense of security that we had prior to that day. I don’t think anyone thought anything like that could happen. And now that it has, I think we all carry some doubt within our minds. We doubt safety measures. We doubt our government. We doubt one another.
Ten years later. We have been through a lot. We have overcome a lot. We are not the same people we once were. We are not the same nation we once were. In some ways we have grown. In others we have not. Ten years ago, we never thought we could end up here. Now ten years later, we hope that we never end up there again.
Only God knows what the future holds for us. May we place our trust in him. I pray that he continues to heal the wounds that were created that day. That people will find it easier to cope, though no one will ever forget. And no one should ever forget.
Here we are ten years later. I wonder where we will be another ten years from now….