I never saw the Twin Towers. In fact, I don’t even think I was aware of them until September 11th.
That Tuesday was my generation’s equivalent to the day JFK was assassinated. It finally shattered our innocence, even though there were already cracks there. (By that time, the children of the ’80s and ’90s had already witnessed the Oklahoma City bombings, a presidential sex scandal and Columbine.)
I was in fifth grade. In my memories it was a rainy morning and sunny afternoon, though I don’t know for sure. I remember classmate after classmate being called to the office for early dismissal. At first it seemed like a strange coincidence, but then there were rumors of a serious storm. My teacher was reluctant to say anything, but she eventually told us a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I guess she hadn’t seen the news yet, because after she explained to our class what the WTC Towers were, it sounded like it was just a small plane. That it was an accident. It wasn’t until my mom turned on the news after school that I became aware of the reality- that terrorists had turned two jetliners into missiles.
The attacks were of course a defining moment in American history. Life has been split up according, before-9/11, after-9/11. I never got to see the old New York, with its stunning skyline. Sure, the city has moved on and is as energetic and insane as ever, but I’m sure it’s not the same. I can only imagine how it feels to be a real New Yorker, especially one that lost someone or had to walk by the site everyday. When I first came to New York, in 2004, I did have the chance to visit Ground Zero. It remember it being so striking and overwhelming because in a city of millions it was so empty.
Tomorrow, the 9th anniversary (already), has in a way been tainted by recent controversies. Namely, the proposed mosque in downtown New York and the plans for a small Florida church to burn copies of the Qur’an, the central text of Islam. For different reasons, both of these issues had ignited firestorms. However, they are obstructing the real matter at hand – honoring those were killed on September 11th, and those survivors and families whose lives have forever been changed. I feel like the victims wouldn’t want the rest of us spewing out such angry and hateful words. To quote Love Actually:
“When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge- they were messages of love.”
Tomorrow, we need to keep those affected by 9/11 in our thoughts and prayers. But maybe more so, we need to remind our loved ones about how much we care, because we might not always have the chance.