Remembering September 11, 2001, 18 years later. I was sitting in 7th grade math class when my teacher, Mrs. Ferree, turned on the television so we could all watch the news reports. I remember it like I remember all the bad things that ever happened to me. What’s this called? It probably has a name, but I will refer to it as nostalgia’s ugly step sister.
I can still taste my breakfast. I can smell the class room. I can feel my heart beating out of my chest while I grip my desk. It was my first real feeling of overwhelming and gut wrenching anxiety. I wanted to cry. I wanted my mom. I wanted to believe it was all an accident and everything would be fine.
I can not remember a time before the events of 9/11 where I had experienced anxiety like that.
If you are my age, or close, you probably have very similar memories. Being 14 is complicated enough; you know so much, but your ability to separate emotion from ration is basically nonexistent. The events of 9/11 shook me to my core and I would never be the same.
I remember feeling jealous of my younger cousins because they did not know, nor grasp, what was going on. Let that sink in. I literally wanted to be younger so I did not have to think about the events that unfolded in a deep way. The part of my brain that used to be filled with carefree thoughts and possibilities was changed. I was scarred.
There was a special prayer meeting that night at church. This did not make me feel better at all. I remember thinking we were just going to pray for the people who tragically lost their lives but that was just a small portion of the meeting. It was actually more like an “end of world Q and A.” I would have rather been anywhere but in that room listening to those questions and answers.
I heard my parents talking to other adults about all the other possibilities of future attacks and where “they” might strike next. I went to sleep every night for weeks with the lights on because I could not shake the feeling that my town would get attacked next.
The memories are so vivid, even 2 decades later; so much sadness and uncertainty, I will always remember. I still feel sad and uncertain, but today I am choosing to change the narrative to add hope. Hope for a better future and hope that my children can live in a more gentle world.
| For a great video to help explain 9/11 to your kids – check out this Sesame Street video |