Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Never Forget. Never Surrender.

It's been ten years. I am seeing, everywhere, people posting what they remember from what they were doing when the Twin Towers were struck. So I will share two stories—mine, which is a little muddled (I was six years old, I mean)—and my mother's, which will be much more coherent. But I'm also going to post what my community did in remembrance of this tragic day.

In first grade, it had only been a year since I had a close brush with possibly not being here today; I went through a rare form of food poisoning and was hospitalized for a week. I was still recovering from that, that's one of the more tangible things I remember. But I also remember my teacher, my classmates, and our confusion. I honestly wish I remembered more, but I didn't understand half of it at the time. I don't even remember how our teachers found out. Were they called in the middle of class? Did the faculty announce it? Did they wait until our classes were over?

I don't know. But I do remember coming back from recess, being one of the first people in the classroom. A rare event: our classroom TV was on. I caught a glance at the screen, and saw two smoking towers. News bulletins rolling under it. I got ready to ask what it was, but the TV turned off, and class resumed. Once school got out, my mom turned to me in the car before we even left the parking lot.

"Kendra, something has happened today. The world has changed. I know you're hungry, but we're going to go get gas—the prices are probably going to go through the roof. I'll explain on the way."

Once we got home, my father was watching it on TV. More videos of the smoking towers. Mom and Dad talking about things I had no clue about. But that didn't mean I couldn't sense the tremors vibrating in the air. I said nothing, not wanting to break the tension.

My mom didn't work yet. She didn't work until I went into second grade. She told me, many years later, what she was doing at the time. When I finally understood the importance of the towers, what the heck terrorism was, and how important it was that a war had been declared upon terrorism: an idea. She explained to me that she was working out—in my early years, she had major periods of fitness routines—when my grandmother called her. The conversation went something like this:

"What are you doing?"
"I'm working out."
"Turn your TV on. A plane just flew into the towers in New York."

My mom turned the TV on, of course, and to her disbelief watched the smoking towers. My mother and her mother spoke for a while, and then my mom called my dad. I don't know as much there, but I know that they both cried. My father, a man of steel, had cried. I have only known my father to cry a few times, and never have I been present.

My history teacher gives a speech similar to this every year on 9/11.

"Our world was changed that day. So many innocent people died, and for what? Monuments of our history, monuments of our strength, were destroyed...and history was made. Terrorism is an idea, and our President was so bold as to declare war on terrorism. To declare war upon an idea. This has never happened before. Would you say we are winning? Would you say we are losing? What do you say?"

May 1st, 2011. It was late at night, and I logged onto the internet to look something up before I went to bed. Instead my mind was consumed by the name I had heard for so many years, but never paid much mind to—my only true link to his name was 9/11.


I jumped out of my seat and ran into my parents' bedroom, my mind reeling. Really? Could he truly be dead? But maybe he isn't. Maybe it's a fake...but why the heck would they broadcast it then? I shook both of my parents, and after I received groggy replies, said, "They're saying Osama bin Laden is dead."

"That's nice," my mom mumbled. Taken aback, I just walked out. But in the morning my mom apologized, having been watching news reports all morning. "I thought it was probably just a farce," she sighed. I glanced at the TV. People held signs up in New York, cheering the nation on over and over and over. I smiled.

All through the day after I went to school, I heard the chanting of New Yorkers: "U-S-A! U-S-A! U- S-A! U-S-A!"

We have reached the ten year anniversary of 9/11. I've heard so many mixed opinions about it. "Let it die down; let those people rest in peace." "Never forget. This is our history."

Our class walked out to our flagpole last Friday, since of course we're not at school on Sunday. Our chorus sang Star Spangled Banner. We had a moment of silence at 8:48, the minute the first plane struck. Our superintendent rang our school's bell eleven times, and we said a prayer. Then we went back inside, but already I felt like I had done something in commemoration of this day.

Today, my friends and I have been trading anxious words on whether we should worry or not. Surely bin Laden planned something? Sure, he did; we learned that after he died. But what if it happens? I've waited to post this because of those anxious wonders, but thankfully it hasn't happened. I have so many worries, but I won't put them into words. Anyway...

I'll stop there. This ended up much longer than what I expected!

Where and what were YOU doing on 9/11? How have you remembered its anniversary?
Listening to: Empire State of Mind - Alicia Keys
Watching: Football - thanks, Dad. I LOVE football. [/sarcasm]
Reading: The Power of Six - Pittacus Lore
REGARDING THAT: I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I feel like my reviews have been super lousy lately. Why? Because I've been reading three and four books at a time before I review them, so I barely remember the books by the time I review them. I apologize for this, and I will have more reviews up soon, hopefully more coherent that the last few.
Pending Reviews: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Treasure Keeper by Shana Abé, Looking for Alaska by John Green, SWEEP by Cate Tiernan, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. Thank you for your patience!

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