Sunday, September 12, 2010

9/11/2001 Remembered

I was in my freshman year at Harding University. As I was getting ready for class, I got a call from my mom telling me to turn on my TV. I watched them replaying the plane's crash into the first tower and really couldn't understand what was happening. I don't think any of us could. How can we comprehend our safe American world crumbling before our eyes? For my generation, this just didn't seem possible. We had grown up in a safe and strong America. This went against every confidence and reliance we had in our country - in our world. At first I believed it just to be a terrible mistake on a pilot's part or a horrible mechanical malfunction.
In a daze, I finished getting ready and walked across campus to the music building. I really don't remember many details. I think I was in such disbelief that nothing seemed real. I believe my Music Theory professor tried to start class, just out of shear loss for what else to do. None of us were into it. We went out into the hallway where another professor had rolled out a TV. We sat on the floor around it and watched the plane hit the second tower. "Wait. Was that another plane? Was that another building?" I then realized this was not a mistake. Fear, confusion, compassion, disbelief - how can you explain all of the emotions you feel at a moment like that?
I went back to my dorm. (I don't believe many of us tried to go to any more classes that day.) Then they began running footage of the people covered in smoke and dust running in terror, crying, in hysterics. Was this my country? These images resembled pictures I had seen in National Geographic of war-time in other countries. How could this be here?
The pentagon. The next news was that the Pentagon had been hit. This wasn't just a business building in the middle of NY. This was a vital building to our government. This should be one of the most well guarded buildings in our country! It was on fire with a huge hole in the side.
I believe at this point I may have completely checked out. What could I do? I was helpless. I could do nothing to stop this. I couldn't even process what was happening. I believe I popped in one of my favorite movies (probably 10 Things I Hate About You) just to escape from the horror of it all.
For the next several weeks, there were rumors around campus that we could be a target - because we had the largest auditorium in the area. Of course, this idea was ridiculous, but our fear was real.
When I went home for Thanksgiving, SNL had an amazing tribute with many artists singing "I'm Proud To Be An American." This is not like me, but I remember standing with tears streaming down my face, singing along with them.

I wanted to get down my random thoughts and memories of that horrible day, so I would have them for years to come. It is not a day I like to dwell on. I didn't watch any of the specials today. I didn't discuss the events with anyone. I didn't even read anyone else's accounts of 9/11/01. But, of course, it is something I will never forget. When asked, I want to have my memories as best I can.

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