Never Forget

Never forget September 11, 2001. A day that is hard for anyone in the country, and even some others, to erase from their memory. It is a day that feels different from the rest of the week even these 14 years later. The air seems to feel heavier and still. You’re greeted by strangers whose faces are the look of dismay. Everyone has the same look in their eyes. Thoughtfulness, confusion, sadness. It seems like everyone is walking around in a fog. Those who lost a loved on that day reflect on their lives and post memories on social media. Scrolling through my newsfeed is like a time machine filled with “never forgets” and fuzzy pictures.

Everyone remembers where they were on that day 14 years ago. It’s hard to forget, no matter how young you were. Even the vaguest memory is filled with confusion and chaos.

I was in 6th grade Science class. The teacher instructed us not to turn on the TV. But she wasn’t going to be giving us a lesson that day. “Just talk amongst yourselves.” She flew in and out of the classroom. I could see through the window in the door that my other teachers were huddled out there together. Whispering, exchanging worried glances. Some of their eyes filled with tears. But back in the classroom, all the students were normal. I knew something was wrong, but I certainly didn’t have any idea what I was going to learn.

The phone rang and it sounded like it was off the hook. My teacher ran into the classroom and grabbed the phone, slamming it down in a fervor a moment later. It was for me, and my mom was here to pick me up from school early. I gathered my things and proceeded to my locker. I remember thinking how weird it was that I was being picked up early and worried one of my grandparents was in the hospital.

When I got to the front lobby, I was stunned. It was packed full of parents who all seemed to be over talking one another. It was loud. But it felt weird. I pushed through the crowd looking for my mom. A girl I knew walked toward her mom asking, “Where is dad?” When I finally reached my mom she grabbed me and rushed us to the car.

I don’t really remember the car ride to our house. It was only 10 minutes but it felt like a lifetime. She told me what had happened. I worried about family in New York. Thankfully, my family was spared on that day.

Many weren’t so lucky. 3,000 lives were lost that day, and countless others in the aftermath. On this day we are full of pride. We are proud to be Americans. We are happy to dedicate the day to those who are gone, and we stand as one country. Why does it take a tragedy to bring our country together? Come tomorrow, things will be back to normal. The memorials will be over. I wish that just one time, Americans could still feel proud and united even after the day has passed. If we can come together in the face of adversity, why can’t we come together otherwise?