Two planes crash, twins got killed. The world stares at a huge murder. My sister, then in high school, whispers a couple of elongated “no’s”. The United States of America was just slapped in the face with a white glove by some nobody-knew-Third-world rebels. According to her, nothing more than a simple back-fire of the mythic American arrogance, and maybe the beginning of a World War III.
I was 11 years old and my mind assimilated her ideas to that greyish image of thick flies splotching against two large rectangles. I accepted my sister’s interpretation of that annoying sudden break into my favorite lunch break television program. I unconsciously kept that explanation in my head and it has been enforced by the following constant criticism of the Iraq War in history class in France.
I was convinced that the 9/11 worldwide annual commemorations were just too-much-whining over something that would have been a logical punishment. Get over it. Arrogance is not a virtue. That’s what I thought. Until I came to America.
The 9/11 tragedy followed me the whole 9/11/2011, at work, on radio, even the short story I randomly picked to read that day, guess what? Letters from a soldier who has been sent in Iraq after the crash. I was still pursued by that 3-numbers-and-a-slash event during my late night practice. So I decided to talk to some of my American teammates about it. What were they doing, that day, ten years ago?
Timberlie Barrett, sophomore majoring in Biology, was in third-grade sitting in class. “All I knew is they turned on the TV and I didn’t understand what’s going on. We got sent home,” she said.
Julia Vasquez, freshman majoring in Exercise science, was in second-grade. Her teacher walked in and they were showing the news. “I just thought that my dad would get shipped to go to war because he was in the army at that time.” He did fight two years in Iraq, she added.
Laura Robinson, junior majoring in Math, was in seventh grade. “My mom woke us up that morning and we watched the second tower crash. She was devastated. In school, every class was a reflexion of what we felt. We watched updates in every single class,” she said.
Danielle Leigh, senior majoring in Exercise Science, was getting ready for school and her mom turned the news on. They watched the plane crashed. They had a moment of silence in every class that day.
Olivia Andam, senior majoring in Biology, was a sixth grader sitting in class. “All my teachers were giving us worksheets and watched the TV the whole time.”
Gabriel “Gabby” Lovelace, sophomore majoring in Marketing, was in fourth grade. She lived in Colorado Spring and was going over to her neighbor’s because they were riding with them to school in the morning, her and her brother. They walked in, they were all watching TV and that’s when she saw the first plane crash. Her neighbor’s mom was crying. “We leave next to Peterson Air Force Base. At night, you usually hear airplanes flying but that night was all quiet, so weird,” she said.
Hayley Clark, sophomore majoring in nursing, was in fourth grade and everybody started getting checked out and the teacher turned on the news. “I went back home. My daddy told me what happened and I did not go to class the rest of the week,” she said.
Hannah Young, senior majoring in Exercise science, was in her home room class, the principal walked in and took all the teachers outside to talk, they came back, had a minute of silence and watched the news the rest if the day. When you are in sixth grade, you don’t really know what’s going on, she said, adding that you understand a little bit but still you think why would somebody just run a plane into a building?
Precious Washington, freshman majoring in Computer Science, thought all these images were actually a movie, she said.
Samantha Kixmiller, freshman majoring in Athletic Training, was at school for only two hours. She got home and her mom explained it to her, she said.
Mackenzie Fredrickson, freshman majoring in Athletic Training, was still sleeping. “My parents woke us up and we prayed.”
Brittney Porter, junior majoring in Criminal Justice, was in seventh-grade in biology class. They pull up a huge TV and we just watch it. “Why would somebody do something like that? It was just sad,” she said.
Cara Clark, junior majoring in Business Management was in safety patrol (the one pupil that helps the other kids crossing the street after school). She was crossing with the nurse and her son and they were telling about it. They did not know if it was on purpose or an accident. It is in her social study classroom that teachers actually explain it to them. They wrote letters to the children of the victims. “I was afraid to go next to big buildings downtown.” she said.
Marlee Wilkinson, junior majoring in Criminal Justice, was in sixth-grade. She remembers that they pulled the TV out. I didn’t understand what was going on so she thought it was just plain boring. She remembers the parents pulling their children out of class.
Claire Youngclaus, junior majoring in Athletic Training, was in fifth grade. She was in her home room class just about to start math. Even if the teachers explained what happened to them, she was still clueless. They gathered and had one big ceremony at school, but teachers couldn’t explain why it happened, she said.
Chelsea “Q” Quiring, senior majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology, was a seventh grader in history class. They rolled in a TV and were sitting there, watching it as it happened.
9/11 did not just slapped the United States of America, but it also made some fifth graders rising their hands to questioned teachers, it made daughters and sons pull their parents sleeves to receive an unanswered why, it made children hugging their fathers asking them if they really had to go to war.
Children did not really understand but adults were also clueless. Probably in such a circumstances, not to know is worse that knowing. My view of the logical-punishment-of-the-arrogant was just felt as pure injustice for locals.
For some people around the world, remembering 9/11 is just to flip back another important page in the history chapter. But for some Americans, remembering 9/11 is to grow roses and sunflowers on a battlefield. I respect that. I will remember 9/11.
Featured image taken from C&L Blog : http://crooksandliars.com/cliff-schecter/911-and-its-great-transformations