"Where were you?" seems to be the big question of the weekend. That's always a weird moment for me, when asked. I don't remember what I ate two nights ago or where my keys are placed at the moment, but
I remember that day.
I remember my 6th grade self, watching as America was shaken at its core.
I was in Mrs. Belzer's classroom that morning. We were either listening to a book on tape or writing while listening to The Vienna Boys Choir or Enya.
An announcement came over the speaker system that we were to find a television. At this point, no one really knew what was happening, just that one tower had been hit. It was in the earliest stages. The news media didn't really have much information either. It could have been a freak accident, for all we knew.
No one could have fathomed a duplicated scene on the other tower and then the Pentagon attack and Flight 93 takedown that was to come in the next few hours.
At some point that morning, the three sixth grade teachers at my small middle school, decided to combine us all together in Mrs. Behnke's classroom, the largest of the rooms, so we could all watch together. So, there we were. Me and 40 other 11-12 year olds, forming new questions for our teachers every second.
Although I don't know for certain if I saw the second plane hit live, or just the repeated footage afterwards,
I remember, being the children that we were, telling each other whether or not we thought the towers were going to fall. Almost like it was a game. When they did fall, I know I didn't grasp the significance of it. I didn't grasp the amount of lives that were there.
It was in the coming days of watching the videos, seeing the photographs and reading the stories that I felt the pain of that event.
I remember hearing "Osama bin Laden" and "Al Queda" for the first time that morning. None of us kids could pronounce either of those words and kept flubbing them when we got a turn to ask a question.
I remember my poor friend Kimbo turned 12 years old that day and has had to share her birthday with the biggest national tragedy ever since.
I remember crying a little that evening at home. I don't know if it's what I overheard my parents talking about or if it was the senario warnings from the news. I know my little sister, a third grader, thought I was dumb for crying. But, I cried still.
I was 11. It could be argued we were too young to be watching the news at school that morning. However, I feel that as an American, I needed to see that footage that day.
I didn't have family living or visiting up North or flying on any plane. I didn't know anyone that died that day. I needed that footage that morning so that I can look back and remember the tragedy that unfolded in my own personal way.
I needed that footage so that I could grow up being thankful for the military, firefighters and policemen.
So that I understand their daily sacrifice.
So that when I traveled to Washington D.C, I could feel like the significance of our history and our future.
So when I went to Arlington National Cemetery I could appreciate those graves, those stories and those families.
So that I could become a better American.
10 years later, I believe I'm now able to grasp that day on a mature level. Yesterday as I watched the Flight 93 memorial ceremony, the feelings were truly overwhelming. Chills come every time I hear that they voted to rush the cockpit.
They may not have known, but they voted to save Washington D.C.
At yesterday's ceremony, they asked all those that were in the Capitol building or the White House that morning of 9-1-01 to stand. It was really overwhelming for me to see. The revolt on Flight 93 saved so many people's lives that day.
I urge you all to throw out your political views for today and just be a proud American.
Proud of the heroes who died that day and proud of the lives they spared. Proud of those who have served our country and proud of those still serving.
I'll be in my apartment watching the remembrance specials on my tv tonight with tear-filled eyes.
I am so proud to be an American.