An Unspecial Story of a Momentous Day
Where I was on September 11, 2001, is unremarkable. I was doing what anyone of my age (and time zone) was doing – preparing for another day as a Junior in high school. I spooned some Cheerios, changed outfits three times, and waited for my friend Meg to arrive so that we could drive to school together as we always did.
That morning I had not had TV or radio on, so when Meg called and said a plane had hit a building in New York City, I was confused, but unfazed. Meg would be here soon, we could talk about it then.
Arriving at school, everyone was buzzing. It was in first period Biology that I got my first look at the events that had unfolded. Around that time, we watched live as the second plane hit the South Tower.
Silence. Hands covering mouths. Shock. Tears running down cheeks.
Even as naive 16-year-olds, we knew this was not an accident. President Bush soon confirmed what we knew: the nation was under attack.
Through all six class periods, no coursework was done. Televisions were on in every classroom. While teachers tried to explain and comfort their pupils, it was easy to see they too were trying to grapple with their own emotions and form an understanding. Lunchtime, usually a raucous, carefree event, was solemn. Quiet discussions amongst tables.
I arrived back home without a word, and silently joined my family who were holding hands watching the television. A discussion followed that evening, but produced few answers. As my father correctly predicted, “this will be the most important event of your lifetime, Myronda.”
Ten years passed, and many of my peers were sent to faraway places to fight a war that was conceived on that September day. Some did not come back. It pains me to think that today, some of our combat soldiers were 8-years-old on September 11. Do they even remember the day that sparked the battle they are fighting?
My story, along with many others, of where I was on September 11, 2001, is painfully average. Uninteresting. Nothing special. But all of us had nearly every aspect of our lives changed as a result of that day; from the way we travel, to the economy we faced as we reached adulthood, to the way we treat each other. One of my friends of Jordanian descent hung his head in my art class in the days following the attack. Some of his friends and peers had turned on him. Of all of the events that had conspired, this, to me, was the most difficult of all to understand.
We came of age in a country that changed overnight. A heated political climate, a call for vengeance, a divide, a coming together. We are the ones about to take the helm of a world that was shaped when we were not even eligible to vote. To this point, all of our experiences, then and now, while seemingly average, are in fact extraordinary.