September 12, 2016
This time of year always finds me at a loss for words. Fifteen years have passed since the towers fell and I still can’t so much as think about the date without beginning to tear up. Heartfelt posts fill the mess that we call social media on September 11th and each and every one breaks my heart. I admire those who can find the words to so succinctly express their emotions on days like these. I don’t always have the strength to share what I am feeling and so I write now, one day late, for that very reason.
I was barely a teenager, at the age of 13 when the world stopped spinning. I sat in my fourth block English class, with my best friend sobbing next to me. Rumors had been traveling throughout the school that terrorists had struck the twin towers since that morning. I was a skeptical, know-it-all, teen who refused to believe something of such brevity could ever happen so close to home. Terrorists were far from us, not here; not 45 minutes from my house. It wasn’t until that fourth block period when I thought, just maybe, the rumors were true as I watched my best friend sob uncontrollably as she worried for her brother’s safety. As she was ushered to the guidance counselors, it crossed my mind that maybe the rumors I’d heard weren’t just exaggerated truths.
My father picked me up from school that afternoon and not two seconds after I shut the car door, he too was in tears. It was true. It was all true.
I watched the world I knew shatter before me on the television screen. That amazing little box that brought me so much joy watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Nick @ Nite was now emitting a new darkness. I watched as they replayed the footage of the planes striking the towers, over and over and over again.
I looked out the window and I could see the billowing smoke in the distance. It amazed me that the smoke could travel that far. The sky was gray. The America I once knew was disappearing before me.
I remember lighting candles that night and taking them outside to be joined by my neighbors. We all gathered on the streets with candles in remembrance of those lost and those still fighting to be found. In that sea of sadness, there was a glimmer of hope. It was so good to see a united country- a town filled with candles in the darkness, cities across the country and the globe showing their support. It was a glimmer, but a light nonetheless.
Fifteen years later and my family is safe. My best friend’s family is safe. I wish I could say the same for so many who have suffered a loss that I hope never to understand. It feels like eons ago and like yesterday all at once. I pray that this country remember that small glimmer of hope we felt once upon a time. May we stand united again. May the fighting within our own country come to an end. May the hatred subside. May we look to the future with the childlike optimism as I once did so many years ago.