… “A Day that will go down in History”
Today started out just like any other day would have. I woke up to an overcast brisk morning signaling that the season is surely changing. Putting on a sweatshirt to keep warm as I got the kids ready for school, made my coffee, and proceeded with my morning routine. I sat down and made my list of things I wanted to get done, since today is my only day off for the next six days. Items ranged from getting the house back in order, finishing the re-arrangement of furniture some of the downstairs rooms, vacuuming the floors, doing dishes and other kitchen cleaning. Today I was determined to be ambitious and complete the tasks that lie ahead of me. What happened next completely changed the direction of everything.
As I was downstairs busily cleaning the house, I heard a loud voice over the speakers of our military neighborhood. I opened the back door in order to hear what was going on, but was still straining to make what was being said. After a brief moment of the voice talking and listening intently, the notes of Taps rang through my ears. All at once came the flood of tears as I remembered that today was the day. Twelve years ago the Terrorist Attacks of the World Trade Center in New York City happened, and the notes of TAPS held the memory of what happened on that day.
September 11, 2001, I was sitting in the first class of the day, of my Senior Year at a high school in Texas. That day also started just like any other day. It was a cool morning in the fall, and I went to school just like I did each day before. I was sitting there quietly with my books on my desk, waiting for my fellow classmates and teacher to arrive. There were still a few minutes before the bell rang for the start of class, so there were only two or three of us in the classroom. I sat there quietly, patiently waiting, for the class to start… it was just a day like any other day.
It wasn’t until other people came into the classroom and announced what they just heard on the radio. I remember trying to process the words “A plane just crashed into a building in New York!” What? What is this person even saying? That can’t possibly be true. We turn on the TV that was mounted in the far corner of the classroom, and switch on the first news station we found. It really didn’t matter which station it was because it was on every single one. We all sat there intently watching the footage replay as reporters tried to figure out what had happened. Within a few minutes from the time we started watching the coverage, the second tower was hit. We all sat there, in shock at the sights that replayed over and over, unable to remove ourselves from what was playing out on the screen before us. How could this even be happening? How can this be real? We moved from class to class throughout the day, but in each room it was the same thing. I didn’t understand how I could be so emotionally connected to what was going on. I wasn’t from New York, I didn’t know anybody that was there, and I had never even gone there to just visit. However, the devastation of what happened, and the severe loss of fellow Americans was etched onto my heart as well as the hearts of many others. I knew this day, and the days following, would seriously change the course of our future as Americans, and that one day this would be taught in school as history.
As our children grow up they begin to learn about the history of the United States. This particular day is one that is covered in their history lessons. Let us not reduce history to the posters of patriotism that surface each year within the days leading to 9/11, as several other holidays have been. Let us rather share our stories, the depth of what happened, in order to teach the history behind this day.
Today started out like every other day for me. Not because I had forgotten about what happened twelve years ago, but because I wasn’t paying attention. I had become annoyed with what I have seen the Anniversary of 9/11 become, and pushed it to the side. I revere today as a day of remembrance, so that we will never forget those that were lost on that day. Today is a day to talk about what happened so that we may never let that sort of tragedy stumble upon us again, so that we continue to learn from the mistakes of the past.