My dad on a trip in NYC
When I remember middle school I recall September 11th 2001.
That Tuesday morning I was in my first period history class. We were about to watch a school safely video that was being broadcasted to everyone at our school. The time was either a little before or after nine in the morning and the channel we were supposed to be watching was blank. So my teacher switched the channel to the news to see what was going on in the world. That was when I saw it, sitting in a desk in sunny Weston, Florida, hundreds of miles away from New York.
Even till this day, eleven years later, I can still see those smoky streets of New York and the scared reporters when I close my eyes. It felt as if time stood still as we all just gawked at the TV till my teacher ran out of our classroom as if she was on fire, leaving us twelve year olds alone and staring confusingly at the events taking place
What I was able to comprehend was that something really bad was happening. A plane had hit a building in New York. Wait, now another one got hit as well? What was going on? It wasn’t till a few minutes later when my teacher returned and explained to us that it seems we were under attack, before racing to the phone to try to call her dad that worked in downtown Manhattan.
Till this day, I don’t know if that school safely video ever did come on. The rest of the class was spent focused on the news, trying to learn as much as we could about what was going on and failing to make sense of the tragic events happening in NYC. It wasn’t till December 2005 when I myself visited New York on a family vacation for the first time. My dad, who had spent his teenage years as a New Yorker, had made it very clear that he didn’t want to go the memorial site, didn’t want to pass a place he remembered from his youth that was no longer there. But on a day trip to the Statue of Liberty, we happened to stumble across the site. It was strange, seeing the look on my dad’s face of pain and regret, as he peered through the metal fence at the spot that once housed the city’s tallest buildings. I believe that being back after the attacks helped him heal, like it had for others who had seen the towers before they were taken away from this world forever.
Tragic moments like these define a person. At twelve years old, I was suddenly faced with a world that was on high alert, even at the mall a place I thought I was once safe to wander about. But I guess it’s like discovering that fairy tales aren’t as truthful as you would like to believe when you’re a kid. 9/11 made me more aware of the world, fast. Innocence was taken away from all eighteen and younger in 2001. The world lost that hint of spark to us all, ones are parents tried to replace with hugs and kisses.
I was too young to remember Columbine, but 9/11 will be forever written into my Middle School years as do tragic events that have happened every day since. It helps me sometimes, when I doubt what path in life I should have taken or where I should go next, to remember that scared twelve year old who awoke on that Tuesday morning innocent to the worlds evils and came home forever changed.
Everything moves forward, I’ve come to realize through the years as personal tragedies and accidents have befallen me. But that past I’ve come to learn can’t be forgotten about. The past makes us who we are today. It’s in our blood and views. Our values and loves. One’s past is a luggage we all must carry, but don’t over stuff that bag or the burden might just take over your present and future. Writers Beware.