Nine years. It’s been nine years, and I can remember where I was clear as day.
September 11 fell on a Tuesday in 2001. I had TAG, an enrichment program for gifted elementary school students. We had just been through the 2000 election, and we had discussed the whole process. Our whole gang of fourth-graders was still chortling about the candidate who lost to a dead man serving as Attorney General, as well as the hanging chads. Around lunchtime, there was an announcement over the school’s PA system that all staff were to report to a meeting. At the time, it seemed potentially routine or unimportant. After lunch, we continued our day as if nothing had happened.
Being a Tuesday, I had Hebrew School. I was lucky that my school actually had a bus that went straight to the temple, instead of having to go home and be driven, or I’d have been late every week. Upon arriving at the synagogue, I went straight into the temple for the class-opening services.
As I filed into the pew, there was quite a buzz among the kids from the Westport kids. There were rumors spreading and details spilling out about some sort of attack in New York. Naturally, as my school had said nothing, I had no idea what was going on.
“I’m sure you’ve all heard some details of what has happened in New York City today. I’d like to clarify. New York was not blown up.” At this point, I and all the Weston kids were confused out of our minds as to what the Rabbi was talking about. Realizing that not everyone had heard, he began from the beginning and told a whole group of elementary schoolers about the biggest act of terror committed on US soil in decades, possibly ever.
I had had a fair bit of exposure to the 24-hour news channels during the 2000 recount bonanza. But the days after 9/11 had me glued to the TV whenever I was home. CNN or MSNBC was always running, with speeches from Bush and Giuliani, footage of troops deploying to Afghanistan, hasty biographies of Osama bin Laden, and of course, perpetual running footage of towers falling and planes crashing.
9/11 has shaped the entire world I have matured in. My world is almost entirely a post-9/11 world. I will never forgive Weston’s administration for not telling us as it happened, or letting us watch live footage. This day will remain forever etched into my memory.