remembering.

in honor of september 11, i would like to share something i wrote in 2002,
one year after the attacks on our beloved country.

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america changing

america is a country that i feel people look up to. the united states is known for being advanced in many areas, and for being a just, peaceful land full of opportunity. this country is known for strength, endurance, bravery, and control. in most cases, other nations look up to us and seek our guidance and assistance in times of need. on september 11, 2001, an act of hate inflicted upon the country that i call home occurred, perhaps shifting this outlook.

it was just an ordinary day: a part of the monotony of a school week. on this tuesday morning in fall, my mom, trey, and i were on our way to cmhs, where trey and i were sophomores. as usual, the radio was on with the news of the morning. we were all fairly quiet, since it was nearing 8:30 a.m., and we were still tired. all of a sudden, my mom turned up the radio. i couldn't believe what i was hearing: "an airplane has just hit one of the world trade center towers in new york!" "what is the world trade center?", i thought to myself. as we continued to listen to the report, mom said, "it couldn't have been an accident. something doesn't sound right about that." i couldn't fully understand what had happened. the reality of what had occurred just then had not yet had time to sink in.

as trey and i walked into school, i remember wondering if anyone else had heard the news. i can't exactly remember talking about it to anyone, but i know that i wondered how many people had heard about it and how they were reacting to it.

i remember that mrs. c, my first hour gymnastics teacher, had on the television as we walked into her room. when i first caught a glimpse of what was on the screen, i couldn't believe my eyes. the image of that insanely tall building --  the first of the twin towers to be hit -- with a gaping hole in the side of it, smoke billowing out of it, will stick with me for the rest of my life. as we watched the replay of the plane crashing into the building, i remember hearing the newscasters mention that this could have been an act of terrorism. it all seemed so surreal at the time. i had heard of terrorism before, but it seemed like it was always happening to "them," but not "us." as i walked into mrs. n's second hour geometry class, it began to sink in that it was happening to us. someone, for some reason, was attacking us.

i don't know how to explain what i was feeling as i took my seat at the front of my second hour classroom. voices echoed around me: "have you heard?", "can you believe it?" as the bell rang, mrs. n turned on the television. she felt that what was going on was important for us to hear. it was then that we found out that a second plane had crashed into the other world trade center building. now, instead of only one building,  there were two... two huge buildings with smoking holes in the sides of them. i simply could not believe it. "what next?", i remember thinking to myself. as we all sat in shock, when we all thought that the abnormal events of the day had come to pass, one of  the towers began to fall. i cannot express the awful, sick feeling that came over me as i witnessed on tv the collapse of the burning buildings. it was horrific... simply horrific.

then, to our astonishment and chagrin, mr. g, one of the vice principals, announced over the intercom that the superintendent of our parish had ordered that all of the televisions in the school be turned off. we couldn't believe it, not even mrs. n, who said that we should be able to be informed of what was going on... that it was history in the making. i left second hour stunned and confused -- what was happening?

i don't recall the normal events of the rest of the day. i remember hearing that the pentagon had been hit by a plane. i wondered if it would ever stop. i don't remember when i heard about the plane that crashed in the field, but it was shocking that all of these events kept happening. it was also big news that the president, george w. bush, was coming to bafb, which was relatively close to cmhs. as we listened to channel one at the end of mrs. t's biology class, which was third hour, we were told that this could be the work of a man in afghanistan, osama bin laden.

for the next month, the events of that "normal" tuesday morning were all over the news. i remember sitting in the tv room with my family, watching fox news channel. everyone watched the news after september 11. everyone was anxious to know what was going on.

i feel that osama bin laden's attack on america directly affected me. it really opened my eyes to what goes on in the real world. it made me realize fully that not everyone loves america -- that we have enemies that pose a large threat to our country. ever since seeing that first tower fall, i have been interested in the welfare of the united states. while before those events i was a patriotic citizen of this country, i now feel that i am part of a family: the american family. 

on september 11, 2001, the world saw that america, the strongest and most advanced country in the world, has weakness. the world watched as one of the most peaceful countries on earth was severely attacked. america was hit hard, no matter how hard it is for us to admit it. while we can fight back, while we are now fully capable of defending ourselves, we cannot change the fact that we were attacked, that we weren't prepared for what afghanistan hit us with.

there have been changes to this country and the world since those hijackers took over our planes. we are working toward prevention of any attack of this kind happening ever again. security and inspections in airports have been increased, and everyone has their guard up. where americans had any naivete in relations with our enemies, there is now a growing knowledge among us all. this nation -- this world -- is watching. we know what to expect, and we are prepared. while september 11 was a tragedy, to say the very least, we are ready now. the world has awakened, and america is ready to fight for justice.

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God Bless America.

Comments

Jenna said…
Very thoughtful post! It's been so interesting reading where different people were at when they heard the news on September 11th.

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