What Happened?

Date Submitted: 09/10/2002
Author Info: Molly (Douglas, AK - USA) 
Occupation: Student
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

Tommorrow morning one year ago at 5:15 in the morning my mom ran into my room yelling my name. At first through my groginess I didn’t recognize the tone of her voice and I was angry with her for waking me up 15 minutes early, I was about to yell at her when she saw that she had woken me up and she started screaming. “They’re killing everybody, they’re killing everybody” she cried, I looked up into her face and saw the horror, torror, shock, fear, and tears on her face and my heart froze in terror.

What could turn my mom into this? What could do this? She grabbed my arm and led me upstairs to the tv and that’s when I started to cry too. They were showing footage of the plane hitting the first tower. I though it was a mistake, I had no clue what was going on, I thought that it must be a freighter, it didn’t even occur to me that there might be people on the plane until later. I didn’t even know what significance these buildings had, where they were, what they were, what was in them, other than people, I knew there were people in them, and that they were burning alive and that was all. And then the second tower was hit. I saw the first footage live. I think I screamed, or maybe it was my mom, and that was when I realized that it was not a mistake, that there were people in the planes, and that the planes were aimed like missiles for a very clear target. People just like me, a 15 year old girl who was just as inspired, just as in love, just as hopeful as me just got catapulted into a building and nothing, no act of god, nothing that said ‘No this ones special, we’ll save her for something great’ kept it from happening. I took a shower, I forced myself to stop crying, I didn’t want to go to school, I wanted to stay glued to the tv all day. When I came out of the shower the first tower was collapsing. And with it fell every hope I had of it being ok. Of something being ok in such chaos.

News people were weeping. People were running and screeming, the dust was coming up behind them as they ran and then they were engulfed, and people who were only 6 feet from the camera disapeard. I went numb. The second tower collapsed and I thought of all of the people who were lost in the dust at its base as it fell on top of them, they wouldn’t even know because of the dust until it was on them, or maybe the sound would give it away, but they would still be dead. I was filled with disbelief that they would show such a thing on tv, like it should be blurred out like breasts and bleeped over like curse words. I was filled with dread as I went to school that I would be unaware of what was happening, we listened to the radio all the way over the bridge. I went into the office to tell the secretary what was going on in case she had gotten there too early too know. But her radio was on too. I went to my 0 hour typing class through deserted halls and found the door to the room next ot mine open and every student who was in my class, and those who showed up early for whatever other reason in the class. Most of the desks were empty, and everyone was silent. 2 different tvs showed 2 different channels of 2 different views of the 2 towers.

My mom doesn’t believe that there is symbolism in life, but I think that symbolism was created from life and is the reason the idea exists at all. And this was symbolism. Some people were crying but most just stared at the tv with as blank a wall of disbelief on their faces as was on mine, a wall of noncomprehension, dumbfoundedness, shock. How could anyone hate anyone so much? So much that the needs of all others are totally unrecognized, no not unrecognized, it was a total lack of any thought at all, disregarded, ignored, blatently ignored and thrown into the faces of all watching that these people didn’t give a damn about the sanctitiy of life if it got in the way of their sadistic hatred. In my next class we watched tv again and the next and the next. It was a Tuesday. I had typing early, then Ms. Jones 1 for LA third period, Ms. Jones 2 for History fourth period, Ms. Jones 3 for French 5th period, I stayed in Ms. Jones 2s class for lunch to watch the TV, and then Ms. Jones 4 for 6th period. Ms. Jones 4 was the one class we didn’t watch tv in. She gave an explanation, I don’t remember what but I remember thinking it was weak. I considered getting up and leaving to watch tv somewhere else but by the looks of her she was on the verge of a breakdown herself, and I didn’t want to be the one to set it off. As it was I think that she saved us all, routine, routine, routine. I think she even gave us homework. And then my boyfriend drove me home and I watched some more tv. I thought I was going to die.

They were estimating that 5,000 people were in each building, few had gotten out, some were sent back in told that it wasn’t a danger, and then there were those on the plane and those on the streets. So many people. It turned out to be less, but that didn’t really make much of a difference. The next few days were filled with discusions, and reviews. I watched the tv as little as possible because I knew that they would be showing those horrible images time after time after time. I remember watching these 3 people on the steps of a building. Their faces were so dramatic that they could have come from a soap opra, they looked exactly like they were acting in a super man movie “It’s a bird, it’s a plane” and then the humor of it fades as their faces show them thinking “Oh my god it really is a plane!!!” and then they screem and the camera goes elsewhere. I felt dead to the world, they hate me, the 15 year old girl with hopes and dreams and goals and loves, simply because of where I live. I could have been on one of the planes. I could have been in the buildings. Anyone could have been anywhere, and the world didn’t care who, so long as they were dead. Then the finger pointing started, and the answers tumbled out, still are. But I don’t really feel any better about it, knowing who it was.

Cutting off the head never killed the cause, and these people obviosly felt pretty strongly about theirs. It still makes my throat choke up. Still makes me change the channel, still makes me cringe, and always will. I remember it so clearly because I told myself “Molly, this is not yesterday, and this is not tommorow, those are days that can fade into time, today is a day that in thirty, fourty, fifty years people will ask you ‘Where were you when the towers were hit?’ like ‘Where were you when Kenedy was shot?'” I asked my grandma that, and my grandchildren will ask me my question, I hope though, that they wont have a question for their grandchildren to ask them, because it is the worst feeling in the world to go back and feel like it was yesterday, or in my case tommorow, all over again.


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