Editor in Chief
Today marks the 11th anniversary of the attacks that shocked our nation. Today, ceremonies are being held at the three sites most affected, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C., to honor those who died that day.
When the attacks happened, I was in third grade. I do not remember much, except for my teacher wheeling in a TV to watch the news, and then we had an extremely long recess. When we didn’t go in, and the teachers started sitting us down outside and handing out water, the mood got more and more serious. Eventually parents started showing up to pick up their kids, but they first had to go through a gamut of identification to get to their children.
It wasn’t until later I learned there had been a bomb threat made to the district, and that the caller did not identify which school, which prompted a district wide evacuation. Ours was not the only one. Across the nation, calls had been made, schools evacuated, and parents and teachers alike shared in the panic of that day for their students.
I remember the attacks and the aftermath, but I do not remember the events of that day as they were broadcast.
On September 10, scrolling through the various social media sites that have developed and facilitated the distribution of information since then, I came across a video, posted on Tumblr.
It was the documentary, “102 Minutes that Changed America.”
I started to watch it and as it went on, my goosebumps grew. At about the 50 minute mark, when the first tower fell, it became hard to watch. This was not the news broadcasts we see played over and over every year. This was the video taken by people, on the ground, in surrounding buildings, some of news casts and the helicopters circling the area. There was even one taken in building four of the World Trade Center, as they evacuated into the light of day.
The first half of the two hour movie was watching as planes hit, people and debris fell, people trapped calling the dispatchers, frantically, and police and fire departments establishing a perimeter 10 blocks out.
When the South Tower fell, there was the screaming panic as the mass of people ran from the cloud of dust and debris flowing out from the now Ground Zero, reminiscent of apocalyptic movies. At this point, the goosebumps had goosebumps.
After this, you saw the organizing of the army of first responders. Before the second tower fell, the group, probably in the hundreds, was filmed as they walked the blocks towards the soon to be crumbling North Tower, although they didn’t know it at that point. The movie ended with the North Tower falling and the reports on the ground as people tried to understand the events of that day.
Today, a memorial stands at Ground Zero, the reflecting pools encircled by the names of the nearly 3,000 fallen. The memorial in Pennsylvania, now hallowed ground due to the countless body parts unable to be recovered, now has Phase One of a memorial dedicated to its 44 casualties. Flight 93 was the only hijacked plane to not reach its intended target, supposedly the White House, as a result of a passenger revolt that led to the plane crash. The Pentagon Memorial was dedicated in 2008 to the 184 people that died there.
We will always count 9/11 among the days we learned, as a nation and as a people, we are not invincible. We are not untouchable. But we are resilient, and we remember.