Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: I Never Want To Forget

As I sit here on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the thing I am most afraid of is forgetting.  I don't cry as hard anymore.  The hurt and pain, while still there, doesn't cut quite so deep.  The anger isn't as raw.  What if I forget my thoughts, feelings, and experiences from that day?

My memories of 9/11 aren't particularly important, meaningful, or even interesting, but they are mine, and I never want to forget.  I never want to forget walking to 4th period English during my senior year of high school, passing Emily L. talking excitedly and annimatedly to John B. about a plane hitting a building.  I never want to forget walking by them, not even pausing, assuming she was telling him about some new movie.

I never want to forget our substitute teacher telling us about the attacks after at least one tower had gone down.  I never want to forget that Jen M. and I spent the period online trying to find out what was going on and seeing a photo of one of the towers crashing.  I never want to forget how slow the internet was or how my cell phone had no service because of the millions of people searching for news and calling loved ones.

I never want to forget going to next period with Mr. Darren for social studies and talking about the attacks.  I never want to forget the fearful excitement I felt when we were told there were unaccounted for planes coming up the eastern seaboard, that the State Department had been bombed, the National Mall was on fire, and buildings in Boston were being evacuated over bomb scares.  I never want to forget the fear that one of those planes could be headed this way, that Boston could be next, the irrational fear that a plane could crash on my school.

I never want to forget knowing how historic the day was, using a payphone to get my parents to pick me up at lunch so I could watch tv and see what was going on.  I never want to forget getting home and watching the planes hit the towers, the towers burning, then falling, again and again and again.  I never want to forget hearing that up to 50,000 people worked in those buildings and the death toll could be almost that high.  I never want to forget the hope that survivors would be found.  I never want to forget the family members, holding pictures of their loved ones, going in front of cameras, hoping someone had seem them alive after the towers fell. 

I never want to forget that the whole day felt like a movie, only without a soundtrack, and when I played the Titanic soundtrack, I broke down and cried.  I never want to forget cancelling my trip to look at colleges in DC the following weekend and my dad saying everything would be fine by then - it wasn't, the airports were still shutdown and Reagan was closed for longer.  I never want to forget the eerie quiet outside for days, with the airplanes grounded.

While these are things I am afraid to forget there are some things I will always remember.

I will always remember the firefighters, police and other rescue workers who ran into the buildings to save lives.  I will always remember the 2,996 people who perished on that day and will keep their memories alive.  I will always remember Todd Beamer saying, "Let's roll!" and the passengers of Flight 93 launching the first counterstrike in the new War on Terror.  I will always remember the horror, the heroism, and the hope of that day. (More memories of the days that followed can be read here)


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