Do you remember where you were? Were you born yet?
It's crazy that this year marks the 17th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. For me, this is a memory, but for today's youth, it will be a history lesson.
I remember exactly where I was. I was in 8th grade, William Paca Middle School, watching all the other kids get pulled out of school mysteriously. No one really knew the gravity of what had happened, or what really did happen just yet. We heard the that the towers had been hit, and that parents were panicking as they frantically came to sign their kids out of school early. My mom didn't drive at the time and my dad was at work but being Asian, I don't think my parents knew that's what you would or could do.
I came home from school regularly and saw my mom staring at the tv, trying to make sense of what had happened. It still felt surreal even when I saw it replayed on tv over and over. Why did this happen? How did this happen? What's going to happen after this? Is this real life?
And before this, I had never known about terrorism or grasped the idea that other countries out there may hate the US. I mean, why would they? I had been raised in this country, believing that it was the great land. How could you hate it? But this is before US and European history classes which would come later in high school. I wasn't aware of it all. I was also only 12 at the time. Naive and young. So seeing other countries celebrating what had happened to the US was very confusing and sad. Why would you cheer at someone else's tragedy? I didn't yet grasp that there was evil in the world. That some people just want to watch the world burn. And that some people would hurt others, especially innocents.
In the years to come, I would learn that there has been much history of terrorist attacks on the US in prior years. This was not the first, and since then, it's certainly has not been the last. But it has been the one that resonated with me the most because it was so close and I know and have encountered so many people involved in 9/11. In my retail pharmacy days, I had filled for many who were suffering from the aftermath of 9/11, the pain, the trauma, and other long term physical and psychological illnesses that came from it. A lot of friends and colleagues had parents, brothers, family members who participated in the search and rescue teams.
And today, I asked my followers if they remembered where they were during the attacks and found that a lot of them were very close to the scene when it happened and saw it happen. It's crazy. And a lot of us were in school at the time. Now we're adults looking back on this piece of history.
I stopped by the Oculus earlier this summer, but I haven't had a chance to actually explore the World Trade Center area yet. I would like to visit the Freedom Tower and the museum one of these days. It's so haunting but beautiful to see those two beams of light at night too, beaming up into the sky.
I wish I could understand why people do what they do and why they would wish to harm innocent people. It still happens today through school shootings, bombings, gunmen at nightclubs, movie theaters, concerts, etc. There is just no safe place anymore. It's really unfortunate in this day and age the things you have to worry about going into public spaces. Where you think you'll be safe in a crowd of people, may not always be the case.
This is also another reason why I'm so afraid to have kids. You can't always keep them from everything. Or if you shelter them from too much, what kind of life is that as well? There's just no winning.
I hope one day we can live in a world where these things don't exist.