Monday, September 12, 2011

Never Forget

I might be almost two days late in posting about 9/11, but I have this urge to share, to get my thoughts off my chest.

10 years ago yesterday, Chris and I were both coincidentally in our AP American History classes when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Chris was taking a test, I was working on a group assignment about the American colonies. I vividly remember the teacher next door, the swim coach, bursting into our classroom's doorway and stating that "a plane flew into the World Trade Center." I don't remember my teacher's reaction, or my classmates' reactions, but I do remember that I thought it was just a small private plan. I thought it was some kind of prank, just like those pilots who try to fly under the Arch. My high school-mind could not even fathom something so horrifying happening, so of course my initial reaction was to think it was a stunt...

Even though the magnitude of that announcement didn't register in my mind at that moment, I still have vivid images in my head of that day from that moment on - the notes I was taking in that class, walking to my art class behind some seniors discussing what kind of plane it was, watching the shock on my french teacher's face as our class watched the towers fall on her tiny television, and then sitting in near silence at P'sghetti's after school with friends - not ready to go home, but not having anything to say - only then beginning to comprehend how much our lives would change.

Every day, whether we realize it or not, we are reminded of the events that day. Every day our lives are different because of those couple of hours. It's difficult to wrap my mind around that concept, and I am no longer 16. It's hard to imagine because after a decade has passed it's hard to even remember what life was like before that day... But then, just this past week, I realized that I have to remember what life was like before that day. I have to remember because when I finally do become a teacher I will most likely be teaching students who do not remember life before 9/11. I might be teaching an American history class just like that one I was sitting in ten years ago. Unlike me though, my students will only know a life without the Twin Towers, a life of terrorism, a life of war. It's incredible to think about how 9/11 will impact their lives, those in the generation born afterwords. Because of them we really can never forget. We can never forget all of those that lost their lives that day, never forget about those fighting and dying every day since, and never forget how our lives instantly changed. It is our responsibility to never forget that we must move forward to make our lives and world better for the generations that will never remember 9/11/01.

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