It no longer seems important to outline where I was during the attacks. As the events unfolded, I remember cataloguing my location and circumstance, thinking to myself, “I’ll never forget these details.”
This is true. I will never forget the classroom I was in, the teacher that presided over us, or the students I shared this with. However, when I think back to that day, what truly brings me to my knees is when I recapture the thoughts that ran wild inside my head.
Following many months of heavy examination and analysis, it’s easy to forget how confused I really was that morning. It seems absurd today, but as the third plane crashed into the Pentagon, a part of me was convinced that we had just entered a massive world war. The fact that I had turned 18 years old, only two days prior, was not forgotten.
Our school came to mirror what was surely taking place in much of the world. Everything had stopped. A static-like confusion came to replace the initial feelings of urgent panic. When it came to presenting new information, the news agencies had hit a brick wall. Thus, we set ourselves forward on what felt like the slow march to where we are today.
The one pervading theme that captured my thoughts during September 11th (and still resonates with me today), was the feeling that my generation had finally stumbled upon a defining moment. During my high school days, it seemed as if the modern world was done shaping itself. I had missed World War II, the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War, and just about everything else that was worth putting in a history book.
As I sat in that classroom, watching the planes crash down, my naive notion that we existed outside the realm of history came crashing down with them. I couldn’t help but think of the overused phrase, “no news is good news.” My vague wish to be a part of an eventful time here on earth had tragically come to pass.