Ten years ago today, I happily sat in a fourth grade classroom eagerly anticipating my ninth birthday the following day. For reasons then unknown, we were sent home from school early that morning. We all sensed something terrible but none of the teachers would disclose the events that were happening a few hundred miles away.
By the time we did get home, there were no cartoons or kid’s shows to be entertained by. Instead we were faced with the heart breaking coverage of the planes being flown into the twin towers, the eruption of flames, people jumping out of windows, and images of confused and fearful faces on the streets of New York. The next day at school was rightly not about my birthday but trying to comprehend, as well as our fourth grade minds could, the terms “hijacking” and “terrorism.”
Immediately following the attacks, our nation changed completely. My generation lives in a time undeniably shaped by this event. Taking off your shoes and being subjected to metal detector checks in airports is all we’ve know. And for the most part, we appreciate the security precautions that are taken. Impressionable minds, both young and old, were unintentionally rewired to view muslims as a threat. Ten years later, the security measures are still in effect but thankfully it seems that the ignorance of grouping muslims and extremists together is fading.
It’s impossible to forget how vulnerable our nation is when you live in a city that has been on high alert for the past few days. I went out for a solitary mind-clearing run today and will admit to skeptically eyeing each and every plane flying overhead en route JFK or LaGuardia airport.
And yet, as a nation we are resilient. We use this day to remember and reflect upon this event and the strong and courageous individuals who were lost.
Question: Where were you on 9/11/01? How did it shaped your life?