A Child’s 9/11 Project

9-11

My 13 year old son had a project due today about 9/11 for his 7th grade social studies class. He was supposed to interview someone about what they remembered from 9/11. As we discussed this I realized that he really has never experienced a world not impacted by 9/11. I got a copy of the New York Times that I bought the day after the attack to show him. While we looked at the images my 7 year-old looked at it and said “What is that?” He had never seen what happened.

As we talked I was taken back to that day. I was taken back to sitting at my desk and hearing that a plane had hit the World Trade Center building. It must have been an accident, right? Then 15 minutes later another plane. What is going on? I got on the internet and found a New York station that was describing the mass destruction and hysteria just down the street from them. I listened for a while then walked to a conference room and saw an image of New York very different than when I was there just four months before. In May I saw the two buildings dominating the skyline from my view atop the Empire State Building. That day I only saw black smoke. I went back to my desk to get away from the images. I tried to work on some things then I heard the towers were falling. What? The landscape was now even more different. Not only were the buildings gone but so were 2,819 lives and a country’s innocence.

I remember later that afternoon walking to my car. There was no one around. The usually busy downtown Columbus streets were deserted except for the State Patrol cars guarding the Ohio Statehouse. People went home to be with family and try to make sense out of something that no one could have imagined ever happening.

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From that day forward our lives all changed. After time we’ve all gotten used to the way things are today. Neither of my children have known a world without screening, metal detectors and bag searches. The only way they can know is through those of us that were here that day. It is on us to make sure the innocent victims are not forgotten. We must share our experiences and feelings so those following us know what it was like. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I don’t want then to repeat what happened.

Always remember where you were when you heard.

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