september 11, 2001 will always be imprinted on my brain.
i was sitting in pre-cal class during my senior year of high school. a boy i knew, jay, came in frantically toward the end of class yelling about a plane hitting a building in new york city. but then the bell rang, and we all got up and were just confused. we made our way to our second period. mine was ap european history with my favorite teacher, mr. thomason. usually, he was jovial and greeted us at the door with a slap on the back, but that day was very different. he was sitting on one of the student desks watching the tv that i had never even seen turned on. he was glued to it and didn’t even notice us coming in. in silence, we sat and watched the second plane hit the towers with him. we gasped but still didn’t speak. we didn’t know what to say. then, what felt like minutes later, the towers fell. first one, then the other. it was unreal. i think what scared me the most was that my favorite teacher – the old hippy, the smartest person i knew, the fun teacher – was silent, scared, and confused.
then, on schedule, the bell rang for our next period. mine was choir. we were all late and our choir teacher told us to sit and wait. we heard about the pentagon attack and the other plane that crashed in a field. we huddled together, calling our parents. i called my mama. my parents were living in another city at the time, while i lived with my sunday school teacher and her husband during the week to finish out my senior year with my friends. i started crying before she even picked up. i wanted to get in the car and drive to her and my dad, but she calmed me down and told me to call her that evening. i don’t remember what she said. i just know she made me feel slightly better. they let out school early that day, and i went to karen and dick’s house. they were there and they comforted me. they also called their sons, who were friends of mine. one of their sons actually quit college and joined the army soon after 9/11. i listened to them talking to their sons, repeating the same things my mom had told me and i had to call my parents again. i went to sleep only because i was exhausted.
on a selfish level, it put a damper on my senior year of high school, which was already difficult to begin with. it came up at every event, get together, and holiday.
the event itself changed the whole country though. it affected everyone. it’s easy to be bitter about the decisions made by our leaders after that horrible event. some of them were made in grief and anger. i remember that sunday in march when we invaded iraq, celebrating it only because it felt like revenge. so mistakes were definitely made and we’ll be paying for them for many more years to come. but that day…i will always remember every minute and the lives that were lost. they were innocent. they should always be honored.