It was a Tuesday morning. I walked along the sidewalk to the front of my school. It was surprisingly and eerily quiet that morning as I stopped, surrounded by silence, gazing above to the sky...the clear, bright sky. Airplanes flew overhead and for some reason...it just seemed overwhelmingly calm. My mind was in that moment and in another moment all at the same time. My heart knew that something remarkable was going to happen that day. I walked into the building and continued to my homeroom. I was in the ninth grade.
"One of the Twin Towers have been hit," It was just before 9:00 AM when I heard the teachers chatting to each other. I thought to myself, what's a twin tower? Not knowing the magnitude of my ignorance. By the time I got to my first class, computer technology, I could see that at that moment history was again being written. My teacher, her name escapes me now but I remember she looked like Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus, was in awe. The TV was on CNN and class was quiet. Today, there was no tapping of computer keys, no chatter of adolescents, no murmur of machines or buzzing of monitors. Today, in Georgia, we shared the awkward silence of a nation being devastated.
We were there. 9:03 AM.
We...like millions of Americans were there. We witnessed it with our own eyes.
"Oh. My. God. Was that...was that a plane?"
Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Silence. All I remember, as I sat in my class was silence. I don't recall birds chirping or cars or even people. Just. Silence. The silence that is created when you witness something that snatches the world's innocence from your mind. The kind of silence when you, as a 14 year old child, realize that we are not immortal. America isn't great.
9:59 AM. Shattered. Dreams. Lives. Families. Memories. Shattered. We were there. We watched. We witnessed. We felt our hearts drop as those floors of the South Tower dropped. I shed tears as I felt like I was in that moment. As my soul connected to all those souls lost.
It was time for second period. Our gaze was broken...like our hearts...like our innocence. After that moment, I literally can't remember the rest of that day. I feel like the entire nation was in a fog after those moments. I tried to recall if I knew anyone who knew anyone who was in New York, but I didn't and they didn't. I remember replaying it over and over and over in my mind. A plane hit the Twin Towers...and...and it collapsed. They collapsed. We. collapsed.
I didn't lose any of my family members on that fateful Tuesday in September. All of my friends are still here. I will never know what it was like to be in Manhattan during September 11, 2001. I won't ever know the insurmountable loss of a loved one who will never be found. I will never understand, fully, what that day means to the family and friends of the lost. But I was there. I feel like even if you didn't lose someone or something during 9.11...we all lost, as Americans that day. We all lost.
It's ten years later since that awful day was etched into our history to remind us of our own mortality...as people...and as a country. We've never been the same since. Rebuilding our lives has been hard. Trying to forget has been impossible. But the one thing we gained from that experience, the one thing that has continued to live with us since September 11, 2001 is that when we bond together as a people, putting our differences aside, forgetting our diversity and concentrating on our communities, remembering that we are only ONE race...the HUMAN RACE, we will ALWAYS come out triumphant. We will always get over obstacles. WE. WILL. ALWAYS WIN.
I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. I was 14 in the 9th grade...freshman year. It was a Tuesday morning and all I remember was the silence...the calm but awkward silence.