I Never Understood It Until Now

Date Submitted: 09/09/2011
Author Info: Candace (Warwick, RI - USA) 
Occupation: Student
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

On September 11, 2001, I was 10 years old in the 6th grade in my science class watching a video about salmon. Then one of our P.E. teachers come running to our room and said “The twin towers were attacked!”, my science teacher just stood there shocked until he took the DVD out and put on the news.

My eyes were still glued on the television and some of my classmates were fooling around, they didn’t understand what was going on and neither did I.

I don’t remember if we got out of school early that day but I remember going home and seeing nothing but the repeated images of the planes crashing into the buildings. My only thoughts were “Who cares, I want some cartoons.” Everything on television seemed so mall, I always seemed to under estimate everything.

A year later when our teachers would ask us where we were or if we understood what was happening. We all said we were sad that it happened, but I felt we were only saying it because it was as if we were trained to say “It was a sad day” because none of us understood.

In high school, one of our teachers asked us if we knew anyone who was supposed to be at the world trade center on 9/11. About a third of the class raised their hands saying “My parents were supposed to be there but…” or “I was supposed to be there then…” I was lucky I didn’t have any loved ones to be there. But I still felt like I didn’t understand.

In my freshman year of college, I stopped by our 9/11 memorial on campus with only a handful of people (most people were just walking past the person talking). But I still felt like I had been trained to stop, I was trained to feel remorse.

Today on September 9, 2011, I was watching a special on 9/11 on the History Channel and seeing the actual footage of what happened, it has to be the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. It was like the end of the world. Seeing the video of voice messages left directed to muslims saying “Get out of my country you f***.” Seeing how the country changed in an instant because of these terrorist makes my blood boil.

A few minutes after that ended I put it on 20/20 and I saw a young man about my age speak about his mother who passed away in the world trade center. To see him say “To be in school and to have some kid hand you a flyer trying to protest about stopping torture on terrorists made me so angry. These were the people who killed my mother and they want to show them respect. I wanted to punch him in the face.” I finally understand because of his words.

I will never feel what they felt, to have someone stolen away from you. I will never understand the horror of seeing the plane hit the tower. But I understand now that we have lost something precious. We lost the towers, the people who perished, and we lost our sense of being safe.

To all the people who lost someone or were affected by 9/11. I am sorry I never understood.


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