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On and on and on… September 11, 2008

Posted by roxieroo8125 in Uncategorized.
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Anyone who knows me will not be surprised that I’m writing today.  I’ve tortured myself every year for the last seven years on this date, and I really couldn’t tell you why.

I was 15 years old on September 11, 2001; a sophomore in high school.  The year would prove to be a pretty difficult one for anyone at my high school, as the first few weeks would indicate.  Approximately three weeks before, aspestos was discovered in my building, and we were to share the middle school with those students until the beginning of November.  That meant that we attended classes from 7:30 until 11:30 am, and the middle schoolers went in at 11:30 until about 4:30 (they have more classes, so therefore had to be in school longer).  I would have been in AP American History when the actual even began to unfold, but I did not know things were happening until computer class, when we logged on to Yahoo.  No one really knew what to say when we saw the pictures.  We assumed it was for a movie or something.  My teacher logged on, then turned on the TV, which had no sound.  We had missed the planes hitting, and he would turn it off before they fell.  I’m grateful for this.  My sister and mother watched the second plane hit, since they were still at home.  I remained blissfully unaware of the events that were taking place until my school day ended.  I was supposed to go to lunch with friends for a few girls birthdays, then volunteer with the fifth grade teachers until the end of the day.  I walked across the hall from my math class to drop my bookbag off with the teachers I volunteer with, and they were horror struck watching TV.  I finally realized something terrible had occurred.  I asked the teachers who shared the room, both of whom I had had over my time at the school, but they directed me to my mom, who was at work in the middle school guidance office.  My mom, who was understandably very upset, told me what happened.  I still went to lunch, and my friends and I joked to try to come to terms with what had occurred, but I feel pretty considerable guilt when I think about it to this day.  

When we returned home, my family watched TV non-stop.  My parents both worked in Manhattan when I was a kid, so they feel akin to the city.  We have family in North Jersey, and we had to make sure they were all alright.  The only family member who was in any danger that day was my dad’s cousin, Honey, who worked in the WTC until about 3 weeks prior to the attacks, when her office was moved up-town.  She still had to run away from the debris cloud, but she was fine.  I did not sleep well that night, nor did my mom.  It was surreal.  I had trouble sleeping for a while.  I have never been so frightened in my life.  However, I wonder…why?  I was no where near NYC when this happened.  I know of no one who was killed, and only in college did I come in contact with people who did.  What is my issue?  

It could possibly be that this was the first event in the history of the world that happened in real time, on live TV.  I can watch the footage over and over and over again, if I so choose.  Things like that aren’t shown on television, even in war time anymore.  I was too young to watch Challanger, although my mom was holding me on her lap when she watched it because I was about a month and a half old at the time.  I was saddened by TWA 800 and Oklahoma City, which I also watched too much coverage of.  However, I didn’t watch the event.  I watched September 11th.  Repeatedly.  

The image that I cannot deal with emotionally is that of those who made the terrible decision to jump.  All I can think of is the terrible moral dilemma these people had to grapple with in their final moments of life.  We had already watched people die that day on the planes and in the impact zones, but now we had to watch people make the conscious decision to jump, rather than be killed another way.  I’m not condemning what they did; no one knows what they would do this in this situation.  

Every September I obsess myself with 9/11.  I did my Honors Project on it.  For two semesters.  I know most of what there is to know about the event.  I became “subject-verb-9/11” girl.  I do not believe in conspiracy theories.  We watched it happen on TV.  Don’t tell me it didn’t happen the way I watched it happen.  Because my brain can’t deal with what it thought it saw…I don’t think I want to know if something else was really going on.  I have a book of New York Times Obituaries of the victims in New York.  That gives me comfort at times, oddly enough.  I cannot imagine being a family member of friend of a person who died that day.  I hope those people who fall into the aforementioned category have a supportive family to hold on to, and a place to go to escape the horror every year.

I met a firefighter from Ladder 6 on Tuesday.  His name is Jay Jonas and I was quite inspired by his story (how could you not be?).  He was trapped on the 4th floor with 5 of his men and a civilian woman when the North Tower collapsed and they all lived.  He was very stoic in speaking about the day.  He is allowing 9/11 to define his life, in a way for the good.  I don’t want it to define me in any way, but I think it’s going to and I’m going to have to accept it.  

My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims.  They must deal with a grief that is unimaginable.  I hope one day I can just let Sept. 11 go by without watching it again, or watching every program about it.  For now, I’ll keep watching the history channel and writing my term paper.

Onward.

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