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Where were you when you first heard about 9/11?

September 11, 2011


and how did you feel?

I know I said I wasn’t going to spend a lot of time discussing 9/11 today… and in the grand scheme of things (being my overall schedule today), I didn’t. But I am discussing it in a bit of detail below.

Feel free to put answer in the answer box at the very end of this post, or just read through the answers if you like. I put an answer in the answer box, but I wanted to elaborate on it. I’ve already read through a lot of the answers to this, and it seems that most of the people here on Tumblr were simply too young to remember or understand any of what was going on, so they didn’t have much to say. I’m not one of them, though. I remember a lot about that day…

I was a senior in high school sitting in my math class. A girl came in (principal’s daughter, I think, also in high school) and interrupted the class to say a plane hit one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Didn’t think much of the one plane, and didn’t know it wasn’t a small plane, either. She came in again to say another plane flew into the other tower, and of course, I knew that wasn’t an accident and I knew it was bad. But it wasn’t until she came in a third time and said the Pentagon got hit that I realized we were pretty much being attacked on our own soil. Class was canceled, and all the teachers, middle schoolers and high schoolers piled into our lunchroom area to watch the rest of that day play out on TV. And I do remember the ugly feeling I got as I watched each tower fall, pretty much thinking to myself, “Oh my God, I know they didn’t get everyone out of those buildings. I’m literally watching people die on live national television.” Such a f**ked up day. I cannot imagine what that felt like for those who knew anyone who died in those attacks that day. No one I knew died (even though I do have grandparents that lived in NYC at the time and still do), and I still felt anxious, scared for the whole rest of the day. Went to dance class (at my high school) but don’t remember dancing. I only remember our dance teacher (who was 24 or 25 at the time) telling us to hug our friends and family and tell them that we love them.

I could say a lot about what’s happened in the 10 years since, especially concerning American government, the two wars we started, the other terrorist attacks that happened in other countries in the years following 9/11, and so on. But there’s so many ways to go with that information (and plenty of political pundits & conspiracy theorists already have), and I still don’t know everything I feel I should know about all that. So I don’t feel comfortable discussing it from that angle. I can only reflect on my life in the past 10 years, how I’ve been affected, and how I’ve moved on.

In the 10 years that have passed, I’ve graduated high school and college. I’ve watched my younger sister also graduate from high school and college (and move to New York City, nonetheless), while also watching my youngest sister just recently graduate high school.  I’ve watched some of my friends get married off and have kids.  I’ve gone from retail jobs to a somewhat coveted government job, 2 years of unemployment, and then back to retail. I’ve attended two funerals of former classmates who were about my age, then watched as my youngest sister lost three of her classmates in a single day (and attended funerals & wakes for all three a week later).

I suppose what I’m trying to say, not only about myself, but about everyone else in the 10 years that have passed is this— no matter what, life goes on. For me, it definitely hasn’t moved on in the way that I would’ve liked. But I’m adjusting, getting re-situated, trying to find some way to press forward anyhow. I cherish my best times and remember my worst times but try to learn from them and put them behind me. Although it doesn’t seem things have progressed for me as far as my outward lifestyle goes, I know I’ve grown as a person, on the inside, where people can’t immediately see. I feel the difference when I think about how I handle things now compared to when I was younger. And I know I’m more certain of what I want in life, from life, from myself, and from others. I could have regressed completely, as many people do over time. And, technically, I did for about 2 years— socially, emotionally, etc. But now I’m moving forward again. Very slowly, at the moment, but I’m moving. Sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.

So, instead of focusing on the whole world or even just the United States, I will bring the question back around and add a personal touch. Where were you when you first heard about 9/11? How did you feel? But also, how do you think you’ve changed in the 10 years since then? And how has your life changed?

Perhaps that’s a lot to think about. Take your time. Chew on it for awhile. It can be a rhetorical question, or you can blog about it on your own blog…

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