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Remembering Sept. 11 and Telling the Story

I remember everything I did on Sept. 11, 2001, but telling the story isn’t easy.

Sept. 11, 2001 is the day that marks the difference between when I was a kid, and when I started growing up.

I was 15 years old in the fall of 2001, a sophomore in high school, and an aspiring … something-or-other. It happened on a Tuesday, and I wasn’t thinking much beyond Friday.

But when I remember that day, I don’t just remember what happened. I remember everything.

The clothes I wore to school, what I ate for lunch, my class schedule and who I sat next to are still clear in my mind, as though I’m about to wake up tomorrow and do it again.

It’s the uneasy feeling I remember most, because I knew my teachers—the people we looked to for stability and explanation—were scared.

Worse, I remember the indescribable feeling of realizing it wasn’t debris falling from the towers, but people.

Eleven years ago, it was the seriousness of the event itself that affected me. I was struck by how terrible this thing was, and how significant.

Today, I’m struck by how real it still is, and by how many times I think about it, because now the significance rings true. I have friends who have since become firemen and police officers. Some serve in the military, others live and work in New York City and Washington, D.C.

More importantly, I have friends who have families. They have their own children. That event blasted apart those sacred things for an infinite number of people, and that’s what makes it so terrible.

As a journalist, it’s my job to tell people what happened. It’s my job to take a confusing situation and make it easy for the masses to understand. But I have no idea how I would tell this story to my future children, or even to my cousins, who were too young in 2001 to remember this.

I won’t be able to share with them how I felt, but I will be able to tell them what I remember. They won’t understand it the same way, but they will know why it’s important.

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