I was a junior in high school. I was sitting in Ms Gauthier's Gifted American History class and the period had just started when the teacher next door came in. "A plane hit the World Trade Center!" she said. We turned on the television to see. One of the towers was burning - it looked like it was wearing a belt of fire. The test we were taking that day lay forgotten.
Then, as we watched the television, the second plane hit.
I know we all have our particular memories of that day, but sitting in the back of the classroom, next to my friend Matt, the silence among us is what I remember most. It was a dead silence, that lasted about 15 seconds, but watching the debris fall from the other side of the building, it was in slow motion.
Our teacher turned off the TV, and faced us, pale. "We....We have a test today. Time starts now."
We took our test and turned the television back on, and watched the fire trucks, the police cars, the ambulances, responding to the scene.
We watched the towers fall.
It's been said that 9/11 was my generation's Pearl Harbor or Kennedy Assassination, and I'm inclined to agree.
* * *
When I stopped in at my mother's this morning to play with the dog and get some free breakfest, I remarked to her that this was the first year that's gone by that the wounds 9/11 left on me haven't felt like they've been rubbed with salt. I don't say this to suggest that the passage of time has eliminated the pain and rage I felt that day, sitting in my orange chair at my black desk, useless, hopeless. Time has merely dulled my choler and hurt, made it almost bearable.
I've seen some horrible things at work, been a part of some hopeless situations. I manage through these because I can. However, I still have trouble watching the attacks played again and again on television. Something twisted in me that day the hasn't been set right, that has healed broken. However, the memory of those killed in the attacks will live on through all of us. We are all survivors of those attacks, and we are all tributes to the dead. I would challenge myself to remember that. I live on in the place of those victims, and I'm going to live life to its fullest.
I'm not going to go political on this, but I think this country has a lot of problems that we aren't addressing. But I also think that we are the greatest county in the world, bar none. And I'm proud to be an American.