In 2001, I was 7 years old living in Bronx, NY. I was in the 2nd grade and I remember it was one of my classmate’s birthday that day. Her mom had brought in cupcakes for the class to share for later on in the day. It was a normal Tuesday morning until students started getting picked up one by one. I remember wondering if someone was going to come and get me too. It was my day to turn in the attendance folder to the main office. I walked in and saw my grandmother there (who doesn’t speak English very well) trying to communicate with one of the office staff employees. I called to her a bit surprised to see her and she reached for my hand and told the employee “This is her. This is my granddaughter.”
I didn’t understand what was happening and why by then most of my classmates were already gone for the day but I remember just being glad I got to leave with my grandmother. She told me we were heading to also pick up my younger cousin Ashley from school too before heading home. When we arrived to my grandparents place, the news was on in the living room and my grandmother started to explain to us that this was the reason why she picked us up from school. My older cousin Stephanie had arrived at some point and I saw her crying in one of the bedrooms. I didn’t interrupt. At that moment though, I knew everything was real. This might sound silly but September 11, 2001 was the day I realized the stuff you see on the news isn’t just what adults like to watch for entertainment, but it was the news. It was all real.