Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 and the Aftermath: Part 1

Soon it will be the 10th anniversary of 9/11, which is totally crazy to me.  Has it really been that long ago?  Was it really only 10 years?  A lot of people have been sharing their stories about what happened much like my mother's generation remembering what happened the day they found out President Kennedy was shot.  I'd like to share with you my story and what happened afterward that had such a profound impact on my life. 

The day of 9/11 I was in class.  I was in music history actually so nobody knew anything at that point.  After class ended, I ran into a classmate for my next class.  We were walking together when he said that some planes had hit the world trade center.  I looked at him and said "Oh, that can't be possibly true.  It's probably something that people made up."  He seemed pretty sure about it.  He told me that during his previous class the professor's daughter had called and interrupted class to let her dad know what was going on.  She was very upset and was watching it on television.  I sloughed it off. 

Maybe the reason is because in horrible situations I tend to live in disbelief land.  The same thing happened when I found out that a school only 15 minutes or so away from my highschool had a school shooting.  That day Luke Woodham took the lives of two students and his own mother.  The rumors had circulated through school too, but I didn't believe it then either.  The teachers, for the most part, were trying to calm the student's by saying they couldn't confirm anything.  So 9/11 for me was yet another nightmare I didn't want to believe in either.  When you live in upper middle class life and then are suddenly shifted into a reality of violence, it's shocking and they say the first think you do is not believe.

So off to class we walked.  When we got to class, it was the first class of the day for some of our classmates who were confirming that yes, they had indeed sat in front of their television screens in shock.  Many of the students didn't bother coming to class and the teacher wasn't there either.  She came later and basically outlined what she knew which at the time was very little.  She mentioned the pentagon and the state department and a whole lot of confusing stuff.  The class was educational psychology so she said that today instead of having a regular class meeting she thought it was important for us to discuss what was going on.  To try and process it outloud.  A lot of people said stuff, but I don't remember any of it.  It was a big blur.  Shock does that to you.

I shuffled back to my door where I turned on the television and scanned through all the rabbit ears stations that my dorm had.  Every station even ones that normally didn't carry the news were broadcasting the footage.  The buildings at that point were still up but burning.  My roommate came back to our dorm room and we watched horrified as one by one under the strain, the buildings collapsed.  You could hear gasps and screams through the tv and throughout our dormitory. 

I don't remember much after that.  I walked around in a daze.  It was so much to process.  I couldn't wrap my head around it.  After the whole Luke Woodham/Pearl Highschool Shooting, watching violence unfold right in front of me was too much to bear.  The world spun out of control and the next thing I remember was all the war.

I've decided to write this from a place of raw emotion so I'm not going to edit it.  Please understand that there are probably typos and a lot of word choices that could have been better.  And Please read part 2.

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!