September 11, 2001.
I was only eight years old when the shocking events that changed our nation forever happened.
I was at school when my teacher announced that something terrible had happened in New York City and in Washington, DC. Buildings that once stood tall and proud in New York City had fallen to the ground in a cloud of ash, and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, had also been hit. In addition, a plane that was intended for the White House had gone down in an empty field in Pennsylvania, killing even more people. Nearly 3,000 people had been killed, just like that.
When I first heard about the attacks, all I could think about was my brother, Erick, who lived in the heart of New York City, not very far from where the Twin Towers once stood proudly. I was scared for him: I was worried that he had been killed.
I started crying. My teacher did all she could to comfort me. I was inconsolable. I wanted nothing more than to find out if Erick Trachtenheimr, my biological brother, was okay or worse, killed. I also wanted to go home to my family.
Not even two hours later, Principal Fairchild came into each of the rooms at school to inform the teachers that he was closing school as a result of the attacks. By then it had been confirmed that it had been terrorists who struck New York City and Washington DC. Everybody turned as still and sillent as corpses. Some of my classmates (as well as the teachers) started crying. I continued TO cry. I wanted to hear from my brother.
When we got home, mama and daddy met us at the door. They were crying. They embraced each of us and gave their thanks to God that we were home safe. When we asked if we could watch the news, mama and daddy both said no. We were to go to our rooms and play or read, but the television was off limits; they didn't want us to be subjected to such horror and violence.
They briefly told us what had happened, but it was really nothing new. It was basically the same news that the teachers at school had told the kids: the twin towers were burning and that the Pentagon had been hit (I didn't know then that the towers had already fallen to the ground, first the South, then the North, Towers). All we could do was think about turning on the tv, but wheenver we asked, mama and daddy both said that we were only to watch the cartoon channel. They did not want us to watch the news.
I asked mama if Erick, my brother, had called. She told me no. I got scared. I was worried that he had been hurt or killed. He was all that I could think about. I wanted him here with me. I am sure he was wondering if he would ever see me again. And if he was hurt, I wondered if he was hurt badly or in the hospital somewhere. I was scared that he may have been dying. At that thought, I just bawled.
When I went to bed, I could not sleep. I just lay there, thinking about the terrible events of the day. I wondered what could have been so bad that my parents forbade us kids from watching the news.
Then I saw the pictures in the paper the next day.
The pictures told the story in graphic and terrifying detail. At the sight of the towers being hit (as well as the pictures of people falling from the sky), my heart snapped in two. Tears fell anew. I felt as if a part of me died because for a brief time, I lived in New York City, in the shadow of the World Trade Center Towers, before I was adopted by my parents. I considered New York City to be a small part of my makeup.
Eventually, I heard from my brother. He was okay! He. Was. OKAY!! All I could do was cry with relief. It was the best news I could have ever gotten in light of all that had happened just days earlier! It was a miracle!!
I had seen the Twin Towers in person. What a majestic sight! I would never forget seeing them (or actually going up INSIDE them!) as long as I lived!
New York City now seems strangely ... empty ... without the towers standing in the harbor. It just doesn't look the same. While a memorial new stands in its place, it only serves as a reminder that the Twins no longer stand, and I don't know if I would ever want to go back. It would just be too painful for me.
I have since seen the terrifying videos of the attacks: the planes hitting the Twins. The sight of them burning and people falling out of windows (what choice did they have? Jump or burn up?). Then not even a half hour later, the towers crumbling, first the one, then its twin not long after. The steely resolve of the president as he spoke to our grieving nation about what happened and how he vowed revenge on the cowards who did this to our country.
We are still fighting a war that doesn't seem to have a date or time when it will end (or if it ever will). It is as if we have lost our patriotic spirit as we have become more divided than ever. It is as if we have gone back to the complacency we had prior to the attacks and we have drifted even farther apart. We have removed God (and faith) from our country and we are now paying the price for it.
I tried to watch the memorial service to the 9/11/01 victims on television, but it was too painful. All I could do was cry as my heart split open once again as the memories I had as a child came rushing back at me full forrce. I still continue to cry as I think of all the innocence that was snagged away from ALL Americans and the senselessness of it all. May we never forget and may we ALWAYS remember why this day is so monumental in our nation's history! May we ALWAYS reemmber and pay tribute to not only the victims but the heroes who gave so selflessly of themselves to help those who were truly in need!
~Love, your friend, Johnathon. :( *Tears!*