Reflections on September 11th – Post 9/11 Personal Memories and Thoughts
On Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, I was sitting, ironically enough, in U.S. History class my junior year of high school. We received news of the first plane hitting one of the Twin Towers. It was in the following period, art class, that I watched the second plane fly into the second tower on live television.
There really are no words to describe the shock, horror, and disbelief I was feeling that morning and months after. It still sends shivers through my body whenever I think, talk, see photos, or write about that day. How could this happen to America, to New York City? There really are no words at all that I feel justify this event in American history. This is why I often hesitate to even try.
I Love New York
I grew up loving New York and having no tangible excuse for the passion I felt for this city. It can only be described as innate. I knew that one day I would call New York City home, if only for a short while. At the age of six, I begged my grandmother to buy her Midwest born granddaughter an “I Love New York” tee shirt at a garage sale. I wore it as a nighty because it was so big on me. Years later, I’m proud to say I still own that threadbare tee, though I no longer swim in it.
I think it’s important to reflect on these impactful, life-changing moments not just in our personal history, but also in our collective history. It’s important to recognize that sixteen years ago isn’t such a long time. Just because we weren’t directly affected doesn’t mean our neighbor wasn’t or the person next to us at the stop light. September 11th was a personal and direct attack on all Americans, but for the thousands who lost someone that day, my heart goes out to you every day.
Post September 11th
Is there something you’re currently turning a blind eye to because it doesn’t directly affect you? It shouldn’t take a major terrorist attack and thousands of innocent lives lost for each of us to do our part in standing up for what’s right and just. When do we stop glorifying the act of “being busy” and lend a hand or a voice? When do we stop complaining about airport security and remember sons and daughters woke up today keenly reminded of the horrific moment in history that robbed them of their mother or father?
There’s one conversation I have found that undoubtedly makes me feel more connected to humanity. That conversation begins with, “Where were you on 9/11?” Sixteen years later, it’s still not the first question I ask someone, especially if I know they’re from New York. I’ve been known to wait years to initiate this conversation with some people but it always, without fail, manifests into a deep and heartfelt one. I think it’s an important one to have, ultimately leading to the reminder that we all have a story to tell, a story most of us can relate to.