11 September 2009

In Memoriam: September 11


People of a certain age remember where they were when President Kennedy was shot. September 11 was my Kennedy moment. I remember it like it was yesterday, as trite as that sounds.

I was in 8th grade - 13 years old and ready for classes to begin. My social studies teacher ran from her classroom into mine. She wasn't one to run, so we knew something was up. She told my teacher about the planes, and he turned on the TV. It wasn't long until we saw the buildings collapse.

To say the least, my class was nervous and in shock. What was going on? Who was behind this? What about the people inside the buildings?

As the day went by, many parents came by to pick up their kids from school. Some came because they were worried about what would happen next. Others wanted their children to say goodbye to their relatives in the fire and police departments that were heading to NYC to assist in the rescue efforts. At the end of the school day, there weren't many of us left.

After school my mother and I went to Stop & Shop. I believe my exact words to her in the supermarket parking lot were, "It feels so close, yet it's so far."

A few hours later we drove over to City Island to see if we could see downtown Manhattan. On our way there, the heightened security at a nearby police training facility was one of the many signs that the world was forever changed. As we looked over the Long Island Sound, all we could see was smoke hovering over Manhattan.

Looking back, it was great to see how the events of that tragic day brought the world closer together. We suddenly realized we're not invincible. It shouldn't take a tragedy for us to come together and do good deeds. On your own accord, I hope you strive to help others when you can, not just on days like 9/11, but always.

Take the time to remember those whose lives were lost.

~ Grae

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