Today as we remember that fateful day 10 years ago, I reflect on my own experiences:
September 11th, 2001
It started out as any other day for most Americans. But as a 7 year old second grader in Texas, the highlight of my day was to be the arrival of my grandparents after school from California. Nothing was out of the ordinary for my class; our teachers didn't tell us anything.
All day I had been antsy. I wanted to go home and see Grandma and Granpa. I would tell anyone who would listen of my grandparents planned visit, even my teacher, Ms. Sirois. Now I can only imagine what she was thinking at the time as I have no doubt she had to have known what was happening in New York. Still to this day I don't know how she kept her cool in front of a class of 7 year olds.
The rest of the school day was a blur until the moment I stepped off the school bus. The bus let me off at the entrance of our cul-de-sac and I bounded off to my house, expecting a big bear hug from my grandpa's arms. My best friend and neighbor, Sandra, was slower to emerge and I left her in the dust. But halfway to my house, I noticed my mom talking to Sandra's mom at their front door. Immediately I knew something was wrong and my path veered towards them. I began thinking out loud,
"Where were Grandma and Grandpa?"
"Were they inside?"
"Why weren't they outside to greet me?"
"Were we picking them up from the airport?"
Eventually, Sandra caught up and our mothers, to the best of their ability, tried to explain what had happened to America to two young elementary school girls. After the realization that my grandparents were in fact not at my house in Texas, I started actually listenting to my mom.
Foreign words popped out:
World Trade Center
What did that mean? As a child, I couldn't understand why someone would intentionally run a plane into a building to kill people. Then the only thought that went through my head was, "My grandparents are dead." They were supposed to fly in on a plane and planes had crashed. And now I was scared. I didn't know what was going on. My mom took me inside and my dad was watching TV. He was a pilot and they had shut down the local Air Force Base he worked at. They allowed me to watch the videos of the towers. I remember seeing smoke and flames and people falling out of windows. And tears began to stream from my eyes. I couldn't control my young emotions and I was scared. So I cried.
At that age, I obviously didn't comprehend what the towers stood for. But now I understand so much more and that it was a symbol of our nations freedom. I'm old enough to fully understand that America is the greatest country on Earth and WHY it needs to stay that way. I don't say that because of pride or arrogance. I say that because that's the way it is. We help other countries become free to make the world a better place for all. WE are the beacon and shining example to the rest.
no one should ever be making apologies for America.
Now that the band is putting together the Pearl Harbor Project II, I realize that I am now apart of history. I may not have been there, but I was one of the last age groups on this Earth to remember what they were doing that day. Just as in the Pearl Harbor Project, we are looking for WWII veterans to talk to, one day someone will want to know about 9/11, because it will have been a day in the past just like Pearl Harbor is to us.
But this is our Pearl Harbor
We should never be ashamed of our country. We should always be helping one another and joining together with pride like the days following 9/11. Never forget what you felt that day. And never forget the sacrifices that were made so that you, my friend, may live.
God bless America.
My home sweet home.