Fourteen years ago, my day started out just like any other day started for me as a 15 year old Sophomore at Spanish Fork High School. I woke up, took a shower, ate a bowl of cereal, and worried about boys and the upcoming day as I got ready. It had only been a few weeks into my first year of high school, and the transition from Junior High to High School is a bit of a daunting one still.
I stood in the living room waiting for the bus to turn the corner and head down the street next to ours so I’d know when to head out to the bus stop. My mother was folding laundry in the living room and watching the news, just like she did every day when we went to school, and I only caught a brief snippet of information about a plane crash as I darted out the door into the chilly September air; anxious not to be late.
The bus ride was as noisy as ever. Kids grumbling about school, showing off their latest love letters or fancy new iPod with excitement in their voices that nearly masked the sound of the radio until the driver turned the station to X96. It was a substitute driver, and we loved when he drove because he let us listen to Radio from Hell with Kerry, Bill, and Gina. That morning they were having a serious discussion, which seemed odd since it was lacking their usual banter and laughter-and there it was again-more talk about a plane crash. What was happening? The bus driver caught it too and turned the volume up to hear it better over chattering children. It seemed that everyone stopped talking at once as we listened to the somber discussion regarding the World Trade Center-none of us quite old enough to understand what exactly it all meant, and how it would affect us.
While school stayed in session, most of the classes did not. TV’s were brought out as the faculty deemed us old enough to stay informed on the situation, and an announcement played that we were to stay in our home room class (the first class of the day) a little longer until they figured out how to address the situation. My home room was seminary (believe it or not), and my religious teacher also stopped his lessons for the day as we watched the news coverage in horror.
I cried. Not a heavy sobbing crying, but a silent tear stained cheeks kind of crying. People were dying, and more planes were crashing, and New York was in chaos. What was happening? I had no idea, but I knew it was tragic. The strain in the room was heavy, and we all knew we’d be forever altered by that moment.
Fourteen years. That’s how long it’s been since the twin towers fell. Fourteen years. There’s a whole generation of youth alive today that weren’t even born when 9/11 occurred. It seems like as the years go by we talk about it less and less, which is natural, but it is something I personally will never forget. Will future generations know what it was like for those of us who watched it unfold?
I guess it’s kind of like December 7th, 1941. People don’t talk about it nearly as much as they used to. Most of the people that were alive and old enough to remember that event have passed now. My great grandfather was stationed in Pearl Harbor but home from leave to see his young wife when the attack happened, but he’s been gone nearly four years now. His wife, my last great grandmother, has been gone nearly one year. Man of us still remember the stories since we were able to experience grandparents who told us about the attack on Pearl Harbor, but as generations go it starts to fade from memory a bit. It’s surreal to think that one day I’ll be the little old lady in her rocker talking about where I was when the planes hit the towers, the pentagon, and when passengers bravely crashed flight 93 into that field.
Last night I saw this image from last year-it’s actually been 14 now so update that number at the top in your head:
I think it’s a powerful lesson that we could use a reminder of now and then. Don’t take people for granted, don’t take the love you have and feel for granted. We could wake up tomorrow morning and something crazy could have happened (god forbid) and it could all be taken away in an instant. I want you all to know you matter so much to me.
To all the rescuers and first responders out there-you’re still in our hearts. Thank you for all you did and continue to do.
Where were you when the towers were hit?
Also, to end this post on a more upbeat note, I want to share this video about Bretagne’s Best Day. Bretagne is the last known living search and rescue dog that was at Ground Zero. She is 16 years old and was just honored in New York City. Prepare to tear up a bit, but in a good way.