The Day I Grew Up

Date Submitted: 01/27/2005
Author Info: Ashley (Bel air, MD - USA) 
Occupation: Student
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

On the day of September 11th, 2001, I was only 15 years old. Everyday I would sit through History, thinking about who was in my lunch period or how I would wear my hair the next day. I was completely unaware of the real dangers of the world. I completly believed that I lived in a country that the whole world loved and respected. Saddam and Bin Ladden who? I had no idea. I had no idea that such hate and evil really existed outside of the 1940’s. I felt happy, secure, and proud of my life. And then the bell for second period rang.

As I walked to my next class, a friend came up to me and frantically asked me if I had heard. Heard what? Another fight in the hallway? She told me we had been attacked… I assumed one of our embassies in some country that I couldn’t even pronounce. When she mentioned New York City… my second home… my first love… I was shocked. I needed to know more but she didn’t know anything else. No one seemed to. I ran to my next class, Drama, to find the world turned upside down. I hadn’t seen fear in someone’s eyes in school like that since Columbine. My drama teacher was nealing on the floor, sobbing. He had just moved to Maryland from NYC one month ago. His girlfriend and father both worked in the WTC. I just sat down and watched him. We all did. What do you do when the person who is supposed to be giving orders and providing comfort is unraveling in front of you? What did we do? We turned on the tv.

For the next half hour not one person spoke. And then we screamed when we watched live as another plane crashed into the second building. Some students burst into tears, some joined my teacher on the floor, some laid their heads on the desk and just looked on. As the room spun around me I believe this was the end of the world. But really, it was only the end of my innocence.

Finally, the principal got on the intercom. He cleared his through, and managed to get out, “Students and faculty… something has happened…” but then he voiced cracked, he let out a sob, and got off the intercom. It was the saddest moment of my life.

A little bit later, a secretary came on the intercom anouncing we were leaving school early. Actually we would be leaving as soon as the busses made it to school. Classes were dismissed and the stunned student body because filing out of their classrooms. The hallways became pools of tears and consoling, panic and confusion. Everyone packed up their stuff and began walking outside to wait for the busses. Behind me, a boy gleefully laughed and exclaimed “This is awesome! We get to get out of school early!” My heart sunk and that was the moment I realized I never wanted to be a child again, nor could I be if I wanted to.

Just like the rest of America, I went home and watched the tv for the next 30 hours. Every single channel, every single radio station said the same thing: America will never be the same again. And it’s true. Nothing and no one will ever think or act the same as the did prior to 8:30am on September 11th. Later, some people would say that we should go on with our normal lives and try to forget. I’d have to disagree. I say we should never, ever live another normal day for the rest of our lives. We should wake up every morning and remember how we felt and where we were on that September day.


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