Living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I was 16 at the time, a freshman in High School. I was on a break between first and second period when my cel phone rang. It was my mother. If she hadn’t called in this exact 5 minute window, I would have never picked up the phone.
I answered and she told me there had been an accident in New York and that one of the twin towers had been hit. She was in chock. Then she muttered to me “They are showing the reprise on the news right now… no, wait, something hit the second one!” I immediatelly told her it was no accident, that it had been on purpose and it was a terrorist attack. My entire class heard my words and silence followed. As I hung up the phone, people started asking me what had happened. As I told them my mother’s words, my theacher entered the classroom telling us to sit down, but as I told him what had happened and he questioned my tale, we started seeing kids running up the corridor.
Everybody followed. In the patio, we turned all the TVs into the news and they showed those shocking images again and again. Many of us started crying, not for losing someone, but for seeing what humanity was capable of for the first time with our own eyes.
That was the most amazing thing for me: there we were, years away from adulthood and understading pain as grown men and women for the first time. I believe this happened all around the world. People stopping on the sidewalks to watch those terribly real images on shop windows, feeling all the pain and the loss others had been suffering.That was the day being a kid started dying for me and I became more skeptical, more cynical and a little more faithless.