I remarked to a couple friends that today marks one of the first anniversaries of September 11 on which many of the current college freshmen would barely remember the events of that tragic day. In previous years, 2009 and 2010, I have put together tributes based on some of the videos, speeches, and songs related to that day. I wanted to take this moment to recall some of the memories of a young 11 year old from that day. We began watching the news not long after the second plane hit the tower when my grandmother called to tell us what happened.
The scariest moment of the day was when the camera panned to the smoke at the pentagon. My heart sank, and there was this fear, “Where will they hit next?” The thing that confused me the most throughout the day was how America could let people grow so strong that they could launch such a devastating attack. As a young child I was astounded by how quickly the commentators could identify that the attacks had to coordinated by Osama Bin Lade and Al Qaeda. Why a superpower like America would let people in the middle of nowhere grow and organize till they could launch such a sophisticated attack made no sense at all. One of the happiest moments was knowing my uncle and the many other friends we knew from New Jersey were all safe. My uncle came into the second tower on the train shortly after the first tower was hit, and was immediately rushed outside. I remember as well playing soccer that night. Al Bedrosian was the head of our homeschool soccer league. He decided we wouldn’t let the terrorists keep us from playing. We played, and then we went back to being glued to our tv.
I remember countless stories of heroism by ordinary people. I remember a nation who was no longer red and blue, but united as President Bush and Mayor Giuliani courageously lead us. We were a nation brought together by suffering. The bitter partisanship of Bush v. Gore was driven away. Americans had been attacked, and we would do whatever we could to support the victims, and avenge the dead.
I remember how baseball united us. When baseball returned, especially to New York City, normalcy and healing began. While the attacks were not enough to bring the nation to rout for the New York Yankees in the World Series, a couple less people referred to them as the Evil Empire that year. With the delay of baseball that year, Derek Jeter became known as Mr. November, and President Bush’s World Series opening pitch in New York City inspired a nation.
I remember the red American flag t-shirt with a bald eagle on it that I bought days before and how I treasured it for years. I remember tracking every movement of our military operations in the newspaper and the radio. I could tell you what happened at every one of the early military encounters at the time. We were a different nation after that day. The crash of the planes brought the nation face to face with the brutal face of terrorism. For a young boy growing up this shaped how I viewed the world. It woke me up from my naivete and showed me that there was evil in the world, and that we must stand up to it.
What do you remember? How has it affected you? Will you join me in making sure that those everyone remembers what happened on that day?
Here is a very good video tribute of news clips documenting the day.