Where were you on September 11th, 2001? Just about everyone has a story about this tragic day. I can remember exactly where I was and although I was pretty far geographically from the events that took place, I still felt really close.
I was 14 years old. My family had just moved to Stone Mountain, GA (a northern suburb of Atlanta). It was my first day at my new school… first day at High School at that! I was a freshman at Redan HS. Of course I was nervous about starting out HS especially in a new state almost 1,000 miles from where I was born, raised, and spent my whole life up until now. I was worried about fitting in, making friends and all of that other stupid stuff that we think is important as children. And then suddenly… none of that mattered anymore.
Just as I was getting settled into my homeroom and introducing myself to my new classmates, the principal makes an announcement over the PA system. It was something like: “All homeroom teachers, please turn on your classroom tv sets to the bombing of the World Trade Center”. I was so naive and lost. I remember turning to the kid sitting next to me and saying “ya’ll do stuff like this everyday?” In my head, we were about to watch some old video of the 1993 bombing at the world trade center. I was thinking “this school is weird. Why would we wanna keep being reminded of these horrible events in our nation’s history?”
It took a minute to set in before I realized that this was a completely different event and that it was LIVE news coverage. Another one of my classmates speaks out loud “Aye new kid! Aint you just come from New York? Mannnnn thats craaaazy!” So it only took a few minutes for me to earn a reputation at my new school as “The New York kid that just escaped the bombings at the Twin Towers” even though that really wasn’t the case at all. Even if I hadn’t moved (weeks prior), I still wouldn’t have been anywhere near those buildings at that time of day.
Fortunately I didn’t lose anyone (either family member or close friend) to this tragic act of terrorism, but I remember feeling so sad and down because MY city was under attack and just thinking about all of the lives that actually had been lost. How many of those victims were I connected to through some web of acquaintances and degrees of separation? To anyone who lost a loved one during the events of 9/11, I want to extend my condolences. No matter how much times passes (11 yrs now) I will never forget that day. And to all of the NYC service workers who responded on that day to save lives and ended up losing their own, I salute you!