At 8:46 AM, ten years ago on September 11, a war on terror was born. In seconds, our beautiful country became disheveled, its most famous skyline a battlefield. As I was only four and eleven-twelfths (that distinction was very important to me at the time), I don’t really remember much from that day. I wasn’t able to grasp the gravity of the situation, so rather than cry and stare in disbelief, I was bored and more than a bit disappointed watching the continuous news reports on 9/11.
Sitting on my mom’s bed, I contemplated the television screen as one plane struck a very big building and then it happened again to another. I remember looking up at her as she sucked her breath in, and I remember seeing the people on the screen hanging out of their broken, smoking windows, waving their white flags, calling for help.
And so I waited. I waited for Superman to come, to save the day once more. But he never came. What was so important that he couldn’t save all of these people? Why wasn’t he helping like he always did? Why wasn’t anybody doing anything? As I watched these two buildings begin to crumble, exploding into a mess of grey dust and smoke, I must have felt some semblance of distress because there was no happy ending. There was no chance for the joy and laughter that Walt Disney had taught me so well. In this story, everybody died.
I was safe though, and so was my family, but just barely. Earlier in September, my older brother had applied for a job at Goldman Sachs, a company then located in the World Trade Center. Had he not been rejected, Sept. 11 would have been his first day. He would have probably died, and I would have lost my fun, happy, amazing brother, the one who always cooked us scrambled eggs in the biggest pot he could find. And even though he has changed, grown more serious and dedicated to his work and family, he’s still here, and everyone that I know is alive and well. I just wish that I could say the same for everyone else that the tragedy touched.
I am incredibly lucky that nothing happened to the people I love, but those events have changed my life and the lives of everyone around me. I have grown up in a world where 9/11 shadowed me and my companions. Driving to school I would hear reports of this and that war, acts of terrorism, a running tally of all the people who had died. It makes me realize how lucky I am to live somewhere where I can consider myself safe. At the same time though, I do realize that anything could potentially occur to shatter my world of peace. It’s been haunting my footsteps for ten years, but strangely it took ten years for me to see the events that happened on September 11 with any emotion at all. So the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 belatedly marks the first time I cried, looking back on that terrible day.