I feel that it is important to write about this historical moment in our lives. As the days come closer to the actual tenth anniversary, I’ve realized that within the past 10 years I feel as if I’ve been holding my breathe for this one. Maybe it’s because 10 is an important time frame to honor or recognize an event or maybe it’s because a part of me was afraid we wouldn’t make it to 10 years without another attack.
Like many Americans, I remember that day, that morning, very vividly and no matter how many days, months, and years past it will always feel like it was just yesterday. As a senior in high school, September was the beginning of the end of my childhood and on that beautiful, clear, warm, sunny morning the last thing on my mind was reality. When one of my friends came in to the library to tell us what had happened I did not take it seriously and moved on in my conversation. But within minutes, it was no joke and every single student at my high school panicked. Where I live, most of the parents work in NYC and many of them by the World Trade Center. I remember thanking God that my mom worked in town. But students everywhere where frantically calling their parents and all of the lines were busy. No one could get through. No one knew if they were alive. The next fear was if every major city was going to be under attack which just scared us even more. I remember the teachers attempting to keep the day as normal as possible by continuing with classes, but no one was obligated to attend or stay in class. My friends were freaking out, I was comforting several of my friends as their loved ones were unable to be reached. At seventeen years old, I was not prepared to comprehend this tragedy. I was very much affected by 9/11 and a lot of my feelings of safety and security would honestly take a long time to gain back.
I remember feeling completely vulnerable on that day, and almost helpless as our high school was in chaos. Every time I see a memorial or footage on television or in a magazine, I instantly feel the same vulnerability. It may never go away. That day I was not prepared to mourn and grieve not only all of the lives that were lost, but the innocence and naivety that I had of my reality within the U.S. and the world current events. It was a nasty slap of very scary reality. Only one life in Darien, a parent of one of the students, was lost that day but it doesn’t make knowing all of the thousands of lives lost any easier. My heart will always ache for those who were directly affected and suffered a loss. Tears will always fall when I come face to face with images, stories and reminders of the innocence and lives lost that day.
At the end of September 11, 2001, two friends and I went to the very end point of Darien, by the shore and even though we were miles away with an ocean of water in between, we could not only see all of the smoke and debris but we could smell it-for days. It was the final image and memory I have of that day and I will never ever forget everything I felt and went through, everything our nation went through and how far we have come since then.