10 years ago, I was sitting in a 5th grade classroom in Muscle Shoals, Alabama like it was any other day. Little did I know, this day was going to impact history forever. I remember sitting in class and another teacher walking into our room and telling my teacher at the time, Mrs. Rue (R.I.P.) to turn the television on and watch the news because something big was happening. I remember watching the footage of planes as they flew into the World Trade Center and destroyed one of the few landmarks I had been fortunate to see in person at that time in my life.
I was born in Long Island City, New York. In my house, there are pictures of members of my immediate family along with myself standing in front of what is no longer the World Trade Center. When 9/11 happened, it had been under a year since my family moved from our apartment in New York to one in Alabama. I remember pulling out a piece of paper and beginning a letter to my best friend at the time. I don’t know if she still has that letter, actually, I don’t really remember if I actually sent it, but I remember worrying instantly about all of the people I knew in the city and hoping that they were all safe.
I remember watching, a few hours after the initial attacks, more attacks happening at the Pentagon. Today, I think back to this day, 10 years ago, a day that I, along with many others, will definitely never forget.
It’s crazy how a seemingly normal day can turn into one that is far from it. Days like that remind you that you should try to live each day as if it may be your last. You never know what is going to happen to you, or around you. The world can change in a heart beat. Whether it was 9/11, or more recently, the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, anything can happen on any given day. I will never take a storm warning lightly ever again. Deep down, I feel that I will always jump a little at the sounds of tornado sirens, even if they are just tests. In that same manner, I always find myself in a sudden panic when I see the words “Breaking News” or something similar flashing on my television screen and reporters frantically trying to relay information. You know those are going to be days you will always remember. As a journalism major today, I find myself to always be curious as to what is going on. I know I am incredibly dependent on technology to help me find information as fast as possible. 10 years ago, things were different. I didn’t have a computer in my house, and I wasn’t mature enough to quite grasp the entire situation in my mind.
9/11 caused the views of others towards my family to change a little bit as well. I do remember some racist remarks made to both of my parents and knowing that my family would always be targeted in during airport security checks and things of that nature because of our skin color.
I’m glad that today, things have changed a lot. I hope that these next 10 years are filled with more improvement and growth and much less hate. I am also grateful for the men and women who have fought for our country and continue to risk their lives for our safety and freedom every day. To end this thought, I’m going to close with a quote from a textbook I was reading earlier which ironically discussed 9/11/01:
“But for the poets of Sept. 11, 2011 – the reporters and photographers who covered a day of horror and the editors who helped polish their words to a hard flame – there were no tranquil moments for recollection. There was only disbelief as planes knifed into landmarks in New York City and Washington, then shock as the realization dawned that these were not disasters but calculated strikes by a faceless foe. There was the chaos of broken bodies and hopeless rescues. And finally, there was the numbing, grinding, work of – somehow – continuing.”