I was in the 11th grade. It was a very warm and bright September morning in North Eastern Iowa. I had just walked out of my geometry class to head upstairs for my English class. As I was walking by the cafeteria on my way to the staircase one boy turned to the boy next to him and said that two plains had just hit the WTC in New York. He said it in a very matter of fact tone. My English teacher was leaning back in her chair staring at the TV wearing a pale mask of complete and utter horror. The only insight she could provide her students who were just as lost as she was “This is like your parents with Kennedy.”
In my next class, sociology, we watched the first tower fall to the ground. I felt like I was watching the scene from the movie Independence Day where the alien space ship blows up a skyscraper and the White House. These however were not aliens in a Hollywood blockbuster; they were another sorry example of man’s most violent primitive impulse to massacre his fellow man. My mind flashed back to a conversation I had with my American History II teacher the previous school year about WWII and the bombing of London and we wondered what that would look like if it had happened in a major American City. Well, here was my answer.
Our football coach gathered the team together after practice and told us that he was proud of the way we’d focused in spite of the gruesome things we’d witnessed. George W. Bush gave a rousing speech that evening, and he did his country a great service by keeping a level head. I know I wouldn’t have been able to have done the same. For the rest of the year radio stations played patriotic songs frequently. Every home, classroom, and business presented red white and blue décor.
Ten years later it is still very depressing to write about that day. We got Bin Laden but no matter for the fear and anger left by his deed will echo for several American generations to come. Never the less there is a chorus that will make the aforementioned echoes of fear and anger seem like whispers; the bravery of a people and unity of a nation on September 11th, 2001.