On September 11, 2001 I was in Kindergarten. Starting school, for most kids, is some of their earliest memories once they grow up. And I’m no different because my first real, strong memory was that day. I was in class, making my parents an anniversary card, when we were all ushered to the Library. While we were there, the teacher got a call from her brother assuring her that he had been late for work that morning and wasn’t in the World Trade Center.
She had no idea why she needed to know that information until she turned on the television that was in the classroom.
When you’re little and the television comes on, you obviously look up at it. The book in your hand suddenly seems less important as your attention shifts. I looked up at the television at 9:03am. I know this because it was the exact time the second plane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
Anyone that was alive when the September 11th attacks happened could probably tell you exactly where they were and how they found out it happened. But for a lot of kids my age and a little older, this was literally one of the first things you remember. It may explain the cynicism of this generation.
We grew up in a world that was fearful of something like this happening again. We grew up being suspicious of everyone. And to an extent, we grew up prejudice of a race and a religion that we thought represented what happened that day.
As time has passed, most of us have learned to realize that a few people don’t represent a whole group of people. And we’ve been able to apply that realization to other groups as well. In the last eighteen years, we’ve begun to heal from the extreme reactions we felt then. Even if it has taken a long time.
Now, we get annoyed by long airport security lines because they seem to be unnecessary and we take for granted the first responders around us because we just expect them to be there. We don’t always remember to be thankful for these things and people for making sure we’re safe.
But on this day, every year, we remember to be grateful. We remember just why we need to be grateful. Not of just the first responders that were in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC that day but for every single one that has been and still is a first responder. Because if God forbid something like this happened again, they’d be the first ones to help.
It is my hope that my generation and the ones before and after it remember those things every 9/11. They say time heals all wounds but just because the wounds heal, it doesn’t mean you should forget.
~Mary Evers (@For_Evers_Young)