>> September 11, 2010
For the past nine years, these words, nine + eleven, are more significant to the world’s collective conscious than most other words combined. Nine, eleven. They didn’t used to mean much.
They were just numbers.
There are few moments in history that everyone can recall exactly where they were, and what they were doing at the moment it occurred. JFK’s assassination, the infamous Pearl Harbor, and nine years ago this very day: September 11, 2001.
Next year marks the tenth anniversary. And now at “Ground Zero” they are building a memorial. I love that we’re building something else there. That it won’t always be a place of sadness, no longer a place of terror.
I remember where I was. I was sick. I had been sick that week, and had planned on going to the doctor for blood work that afternoon. I was a senior in high school, but I didn’t go to classes that morning. I wanted to sleep in. My mom came running down the stairs telling me to come see what was on the TV. I sat there in front of CNN with my mom, amazed as we watched the second plane hit. I remember feeling like it was a movie. Like it wasn’t real. And to be honest, not being a New Yorker, I don’t think I fully grasped the significance of that moment, of that building, and of what was really happening.
Then came the small figures jumping and falling to their deaths. Then came Rudy Guiliani with his mask, walking through the streets of New York… covered in ash. Then came the news of the firefighters that ran IN to the buildings, doing their heroic jobs, many never coming out alive. Then came the cell phone pings of people trapped. Then came the stories of the man in the wheelchair, that couldn’t get out because of the stairs. Then came the tales of people miraculously being found, alive, their stories of reunion giving the world precious happy tears. Then came Peter Jennings choking up, on air – this wasn’t the kind of thing they teach you in journalism courses.
Next came the pictures of the gaping hole at the pentagon, and the news of a fourth plane. To this day, I am in awe of what they did on that doomed flight. I’m not sure I could be that brave.
We share these collective memories. And although we all disagree on political ideology and religious dogma, for a few moments, in our history we all stood together in sadness, but also with a sense of pride. I am proud to be apart of the American tapestry that created those that fought for their lives that day, and those that were lost when they were simply doing their job. Sometimes I think we forget how alike we all really are.
It wasn’t only Christians that died that day; there were Jews, Muslims, Agnostics, and Atheists among them.
It wasn’t only Americans that died that day; there were Europeans, Africans, Asians, and others among them.
It wasn’t only Caucasians that died that day; there were Asians, blacks, Hispanics, and many others among them.
Today we should celebrate our diversity.
And, above all remember the heroism of those that were lost.
Nicole, The girl that normally considers herself “not too patriotic”