Tuesday, September 11, 2012


"Where were you when the world stopped turning?" ~ Alan Jackson

I was in third grade.
I was probably playing sparkle spell in order to learn my spelling words for the week.
My teacher held her composure.
None of us knew.
Until I got to extended day care after school.
And a fourth grader told me that two planes crashed into a building.
I had the natural response of a third grader.
I said she was a liar.
I told her that she was stupid and that planes couldn't do that.
Why would they mess up that bad?

I didn't understand.
I don't think many of us did.
Until my dad picked me up.
He immediately took me to a restaurant.
I knew something was strange.
We didn't eat out on school nights.
And we especially didn't go straight there from school.
I was even more suspicious when my mom was at the restaurant meeting us.
At this time, she never came home from work this early.
I couldn't understand.
Until I looked at the TV.
And saw a building on fire crumbling to the ground.
And then she told me she had been sent home early.
At the time, she worked in one of the tallest buildings in downtown Houston and no one knew what was going to happen next.

Looking back on this, I remember feeling confused.
But I never understood.
It didn't register to my 8 year old self that there were people, just like my mom,
in that building when it was hit.
Some third grader in New York that day, just like me, lost their mom or their dad.
Some mother lost her husband or her child.
It didn't make sense that people died that day.
I didn't understand.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the sacrifice all those people made for us.
The firefighters, police officers, EMTs. 
The innocent people.
Forty years from now, will we remember?
I mean, Pearl Harbor happened and was tragic.
Can people my age tell you the date?
Can they tell you how many soldiers lost their lives?
How can we expect all those kids who weren't there or were too young to understand
to grasp and remember the sacrifice that was made for our country?

I hope we can figure out a way to make it stick.
I hope that forty or fifty years from now people still stop
and remember the men and women who lost their lives because 
a plane crashed through their building.
I hope we can consider this loss to our country when we are at war with another.
Do we want to cause innocent people to lose their lives the way our citizens did?
I hope the answer to that is no.
I hope we can use 9/11 as a force to change the world.
But, if nothing else, I hope we never forget the people we lost that day.
And the hurt our country felt. 



Reese said...

My story is a bit different. I was living in Germany at the time. My dad was in the Army. Since Germany is 6 hours ahead. What was happening at 8 a.m in NY and D.C. was actually around 3 p.m. for us. We had just gotten out of school and were going to cheerleading practice on post when they locked it down. We were stuck on post until around 9:00 p.m. and we were terrified. I've never seen a solider so angry or sad. They cursed and cried. So did we.

I don't think it really sank in until the next day they opened school and MP's had to escort us in with M-16. And then the gates went up. And then it started taking hours to get on post because of the security checks. And then our parents started get the phone calls and left us one by one.

Four years later during graduation, only 5 fathers were there to watch their children graduate. The rest were still fighting for us. I will never forget that day or the years that followed.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. May we never forget.



Chelsea said...

Great post. I enjoyed reading this. I haven't been able to write about this today, but I've really enjoyed reading peoples thoughts about the day.