Reflection On 9/11
by The Milton Measure on Friday, September 16th, 2011
I remember sitting at a table surrounded by my aunts and uncles, listening in shock as they retold the events of 9/11. Each adult seemed to remember the events perfectly, as if they were yesterday.
They remember turning on the television and assuming that the first plane crash had been an accident. They remember staring in horror at the television screen when the second plane flew into Tower Two realizing that this truly was a planned terrorist attack.
Every detail, every horrifying image they saw on the news, and every frantic conversation they had on that day seemed to be forever engraved in their minds.
As I listened to adults recount the attacks, I realized that I could not remember a single detail from the actual day. I had been too young at the time to understand the gravity of the situation. Only after months, even years, passed did I begin to understand the impact that the events of September 11, 2001 had on the country, my family, and me.
How would one even begin to explain the traumatizing events of a terrorist attack to a first grader? Children struggle to understand the importance of anything that does not directly impact their daily lives; thus, they have a hard time understanding pain and suffering unless they themselves have experienced it. Once an incident affects a child’s life they begin to understand just how real the stories on the news were.
My earliest memory of the attacks is from a day or two after the events when my mom received a phone call. One of her friends knew someone who had been working in Tower One at the time of the attack and did not survive.
I remember picking up a bookmark-sized card with green writing that read “In Memory of John” at the top. The picture on the card was a young man in his thirties with a friendly, white smile. I remember staring at this photo of a man I did not know, and the only thought in my head was how much John reminded me of my dad.
After several years past I began to truly comprehend the immense impact of September 11th. One of my best friends was forced to leave America with her family because of a distant connection to the half-brother of Osama Bin Laden. I was shocked at how the events of one day were capable of tearing a kind family away from their home and completely unraveling their lives.
Another connection I had to the attacks was through my Aunt Laura. One of her close friends was a flight attendant aboard the American Airlines flight that crashed into Tower One. These distant connections I discovered I had to the attacks made me realize that the events of September 11th affected everyone, some more than others.
I am extremely grateful that I did not suffer nearly as much as those who lost a father, mother, sibling or best friend. I cannot begin to express how fortunate I feel that the photo on the bookmarked-sized memorial card sitting in my living room is not of my own dad.
For those who did have closer connections to victims of the attack I hope that the memorials which took place on the 10th anniversary helped them not only to remember their lost loved ones, but also to see the support which this country continues to express for all of the families and friends of the victims of 9/11.
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