Sixteen years after the worst terrorist attack on American soil, and the world is still as dangerous and violent as ever. So few problems have been solved. So many seem to pop up by the day.
It’s almost as if violence and bloodshed, hatred and division, are indelible parts of the human condition. Who knew?
I was going to write about some negative aspects of 9/11, things people have said to me, and so forth. But then I realized, why dwell on the negative? Today we commemorate one of the most negative days in American history. I’d rather not add to it.
That’s why these kinds of commemorations–even dumb blog posts–are important. A whole generation born after 9/11 or too young to remember is now entering adulthood. It’d be tragic if these stories were lost, the event downplayed, or worse, trivialized and forgotten.
Remember the fallen and the survivors, remember the heroes, and remember our enemies. Just remember.
And listen. Everyone has a 9/11 story the way our ancestors had Civil War stories and Jim Crow stories and Depression stories and Pearl Harbor stories and civil rights stories and Vietnam stories. We all need an ear to listen, not for our own vanity, but so we never forget.
It’s cathartic. The rituals and reverence ensure that we take certain things seriously, which in the world of snark and smirking detachment we’re all occupying is more vital than ever.
So what’s my 9/11 story?Well, I was a sophomore in college. The event happened around two weeks before my twentieth birthday. You can imagine the impact both my location and my age had on me.
Honestly, I missed the attacks. I rolled out of bed at 6:00 as I was wont to do, hit the gym, and made it to my 8:00 Greek class, completely ignorant of the events.
Walking back to my dorm around 9:00, I noticed the campus was eerily quiet.
Getting to the quad on that beautiful Tuesday morning, I realized the same TV news broadcast was coming from every single open window.
Entering my room, my roommate turned to me and said “They flew planes into the Twin Towers!”
I sat in shocked silence watching the coverage with him. Anger and fear colored my emotions, but I was also strangely calm, contemplative. I may have had a class after that–music theory–or it might have been the next day. I don’t remember if classes had been canceled or not. It doesn’t matter. And neither does the minutiae of my life after. Maybe I’ll write about them later. I just don’t want to get into politics or religion or Islamic terrorism or any of that right now.
All I knew was that things had changed forever. I just didn’t realize by how much.
That’s enough about me. I’d love to see some of your 9/11 stories in the comments below.
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