We were less than a month into 4th grade when 9/11 happened. Attending school in a very small town, it wasn’t unusual to know every single person that worked/attended the school, thus the feeling of chaos and tension in the air was very present that early afternoon. Our elementary/middle school principal made the rounds to tell each classroom that the twin towers were “bombed” by planes that had crashed into the buildings. At that time, none of us really knew what the twin towers were and how physically and figuratively monumental they were for New York’s history. Unlike most stories where classrooms were watching the events unfold live, our classroom did not have cable access, so we ended up watching homemade videos of one of our classmate’s trips to Mexico with her family for our social studies lessons.
It wasn’t until I had gotten home from an early release, where I walked into my grandpa’s house and saw the first tower collapse from a replay earlier. It was at this moment that I fully grasped the impact of this event and the effect it had for the families and by watchers in New York. The rest of the evening was filled with constant coverage of the plane impacts, presidential address, and countless interviews from observers of the horrific event.
The weekend before, a friend and I had taken a scenic railroad trip on a steam locomotive in the fall season. I remember that trip so vividly as it marked the ending of the very innocent, naive time in my life as child before realizing the true terrors of this world. And in this case, concluded the unimpeachable mindset we all had as Americans.