& I have never actually written down my personal experience on that day other than something I wrote in my journal when I was 9.
12 years ago today, only 9 days after I had just turned 9, I was in my 4th grade class doing a writing assignment. My principle comes on the intercom and announces that there was going to be an early release in school that day and to please not turn on any TV's. As kids, our initial reaction was 'School's out early?! Sweet!'. It didn't take long to realize how serious the situation really was. I remember my classmates being called out one by one by a person from the main office telling them that their parents were there early to get them. I was starting to get worried. I was hoping that my mom heard that school was getting out early and that she would hopefully be there to get me too. When almost half the class had already left because their parents came, my mom finally came and got me. I remember grabbing my Winnie the Pooh and Tiger lunch box and leaving my class to find my mom looking worried. I asked her what was going on and as she was walking she told me that two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. I had absolutely no idea what that was. We walked out of the school and I remember looking up at the sky... it was so blue. Just like the sky in New York. As I looked up I saw two army jet planes fly over the school. I got really scared when I saw that. Back then I had no idea where they were going, but now I know they were probably headed to DC because of the Pentagon.
I remember getting home and I can't remember if my dad was already there or if he got home a little after me but I do have a clear memory of him sitting there watching the TV and me asking him if he were happy or sad. Now, before you think I was a dumb 9 year old asking a stupid question, I need to tell you why I asked. For some reason I used to ask my dad if he were happy or sad random times. I don't know why I did.. I think I did it because it made me happy to know everything was alright. The thing about my dad though, he would ALWAYS answer 'I'M HAPPY! :)' every single time. Now, because I saw how concerned he was, it got me really worried. Everything I saw happening on the TV was scaring me a lot. So I asked him that because his normal answer was 'I'M HAPPY' which would mean everything was alright. For the first time ever, my dad said in a very serious voice almost a little of a yell 'No, I'm not happy! All these innocent people are loosing their lives!'. That hit me VERY hard that day. For the first time I realized how serious the situation was and how the world isn't always going to be a good/and happy place.
I remember running down to the basement after he said that and turning on the TV down there. Every. Single. Channel had the towers on it. Replaying the crash and the fall. I finally found the ONE channel that wasn't playing it and it was PBS kids. I stayed down their until the early evening.
I remember our phone ringing a lot that day from family making sure my dad was alright because they knew how he worked in DC. I remember being absolutely terrified for the next week or so if I ever heard a plane flying over the house.
Till this day, I really have been scared of flying.. and 9/11 is a pretty big chunk of why I am.
I remember when I went to NYC when I was 13 or my uncle was in the taxi cab with us and he wanted us to drive by Ground Zero. I had no desire to go there at all. The memory of it all just freaked me out. We did drive by it and I felt very sad.
Finally, this past summer I went to NYC. It was spur of the moment for me because I wasn't sure if I wanted to do a day trip. My sister's friend Matt who was visiting really wanted to go though, and he also really wanted to see the new 9/11 memorial. I wasn't really gun ho about going... because like many other people, that day really effected me. Especially being so young. But in my head I thought about how I should since I was there. So we got tickets online and went.
When we got off the subway, it was right in front of that church that did not fall that day. I remember seeing that church in pictures but now I was standing in front of it. I turned to my right and looked up imagining what those two towers must have looked like. We then found the memorial entrance, went through security, then proceeded to walk into the memorial.
That memorial is one of the most beautifully designed memorials I have ever seen. I remember just looking and thinking of what it must of been like. I kept looking up and imagining the towers.
When I saw 'One World Trade Center' it reminded me of how at the end of the day, we are one nation and in horrifying times like this we can come together and start anew.. never forgetting our past.
It's hard to believe it's been twelve years since that terrifying day. But now that I'm 21, and faced my fear to go to that spot where those innocent lives were lost, I can look back and truly understand, respect, and honor those people whose names were written on that memorial that lost their lives that day. It's crazy to think that there were some children there at the memorial who weren't even alive when this happened. But it is still something everyone needs to remember and never forget.