I was sitting in my 11th Grade, 2nd period, Honors English class. My teacher’s name was Ms. Taylor. We had a special project and the whole class was in the Media Center to work on research. The Media Center, as it happens, was one of the only areas of the high school to have cable T.V.’s. They were all turned on. They were all playing the same footage.
I sat, just a child in a room full of children, and watched the second plane hit.
I remember everything about it. Ms. Taylor crying with the librarian, the flustered confusion coming from the normally polished news reporters, the unsettling silence that was never before heard in a room full of 16 year olds. I called my father, sure that if anyone could make me feel safe it would be him. He told me to leave class and come home.
We each have this story; our “where we were” story. We remember strange, inconsequential details, we still feel the scars left by the painful emotions. And while these memories hurt, not figuratively, but literally cause flutters of pain in our hearts, I think they’re important. I think that day shaped us as individuals and as a nation.
My children will never know a pre-9/11 world. They’ll never pick-up a loved one at an airline gate, they’ll never take a social-studies class without learning it, they’ll never pass September 11th on a calendar and not think twice. But I’m ok with that. While it is indeed a loss of innocence, I’d argue that the gain was substantial.
We learned that we are survivors. We learned that we unite under pressure. We learned that we’re a country made up of unsuspecting heroes. We learned that, given the facts, it takes less than 10 minutes for a group of Americans to band together and fight an enemy.
These lessons came at a price, yes, but how much costlier would it be to forget them? Will they be in vain?
Please join Central Vacuum Stores in remembering September 11th. Allow yourself to feel the pain, to relive the horror, and to remember the perspective you gained that day. How you longed for loved ones, how eternally linked you felt to fellow citizens, how trivial that English project suddenly seemed.
We’re in this together, we don’t forget our fallen, and that’s what makes us different.