I remember where I was when it happened. I picked up my car from the mechanic. I don’t think I had to be in school early that day. I was listening to the local news station. The reporter mentioned a plane crashed into the Twin Towers. I thought it was some freak accident. I hoped that everyone in the buildings would be okay.
I dropped the car off to the car wash. I waited in the lobby. The crash was all over the news. Minutes later, there was another crash; this time in Washington, D. C. At that point, this was beyond coincidence. It wasn’t until the reporter mentioned terrorist involvement that I put two and two together. This was serious. Our home was a target.
As I drove home, I kept the radio on. I wondered what else was going to happen. Where would these terrorists strike next? Just then, I heard of another attempt. This plane targeted The White House. But some brave passengers thwarted that attempt. It made me sad, and yet, hopeful. There were ordinary citizens willing to do whatever it took to stop these evil men.
By the time I got home, I turned on the TV, keeping it glued to the news, just as everyone else was. I saw footage of the plane crashing into the Twin Toers, police and firemen rushing to the crash site, the thickness of dust and debris enveloping the skies. It was surreal. I wondered what those people in those buildings thought. I heard stories of people who were running late found out about the attacks, of people practically underneath the towers when they collapsed. I knew someone who was in New York at that time. I wondered what must have been going on in her mind.
I thought, as I’m sure everyone else thought, that never in a million years would we ever be victim to something as sinister and horrific as the slaughtering of innocent people. We’re America. We’re a world superpower. Surely, nothing like this would ever happen to us. It did. We were made vulnerable. I’m willing to believe that the terrorist felt superior to us, kicking us off our high horse. America shut down. And not just for a few hours, but a few days. The one takeaway, and the one thing that gave me hope, was that for one moment, America came together like never before. I guess you can call it irony. Call it poetic justice. Call it whatever you want.
Fourteen years later, here we are. For the most part, we’ve gone back to living our lives as if nothing happened. But we haven’t forgotten. We’re reminded on holidays like Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day just what it was that we lost. What I find interesting is that our relations between one another hasn’t changed. We’re still fighting for equality. There are still groups who will look for any reason to push their prejudices upon others. I don’t think it’s a matter of forgetting the bad that happened, but I think we forgot the good that it brought. Let’s not forget that.