For Real Friday: In Memory

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On September 11th, 2001, I was in my first block class (chorus) freshmen year, when an announcement came on over the intercom. The intercom in there was terrible, and all I really understood was that something had happened to a plane and a building and a we had a moment of silence, then went on with whatever it was we were doing.

I think my teacher knew, because we didn’t sing. We did homework, and basically got to use chorus as a study hall that day. It wasn’t until lunch that I got the whole story from my friends. And it wasn’t until fourth block biology, when I saw any news footage and what happened really sank in and I broke down. I remember the student teacher being really confused as to why I was so upset since we were in Georgia.

I’m from New York (state). I have family in New York (city) and D.C, and an Uncle who worked for the Pentagon. He may have been retired at that point, I didn’t remember then either, so I rushed to the office and called my mom, who’d gotten ahold of Pentagon Uncle, but at that point not New York Uncle. My Uncle was fine, a very good friend of his and our families was not.

I remember the rest of the week was quiet. As in silent. People spoke in whispered speculations. I lived near a military base, so there was some fear that was a target. I remember teachers and parents and church leaders talking to kids a lot, trying to help them make sense of what had happened. I remember a lot of flags and patriotic clothing. I remember being told to make a silent prayer for the lost anytime I happened to glance at a clock at 9:11. The same thought, the same prayer goes through my mind every time I happen to look at a clock at that time without conscious thought. It’s an involuntary response now, so ingrained in habit.

I remember being reminded this was par for the course in other countries and we should be grateful it didn’t happen that much here.

I remember conspiracy theories, and glib questions about why we didn’t just bomb the middle east. I remember how weird it was knowing I’d stood on the razors edge of change and the ripples were endless. I lived near a military base, within a month everyone I knew knew someone Afghanistan. Our entire political climate changed, the way the news reported changed. Our vocabularies changed.  I remember how weird it was that something that didn’t affect me on much of a personal level (as compared to say, my Uncle) could change my entire world. I remember feeling a lot more connected to the people in my history book.

I remember a lot.

For all of the men and women killed that day and in the ripples that followed, for all the families and friends who lost someone. I remember. And I’m still so sorry for your loss.

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