Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you?

On Sept. 11, 2001 I was sitting in my 1st period Pre-Cal class waiting to take a quiz when the completely unexpected occurred. After the shock wore off, We went through the day numb, moving from one class to another, watching the ever expanding coverage on CNN. It was crystal clear to all of us 18 year olds that our world was forever changed, and also that our children would grow up very differently then us. Has it been six years already? I still remember everything very clearly, and believe or not, something in me triggers whenever I see the numbers 9/11, be it on a digital clock or on TV. I think my perspective may be a little different then the average Alabamian seeing that I traveled so much ever since I was little and had been to NYC twice a year (at least) since I was born in '83. I have a very deep and visceral connection to that city, maybe more then any other city in the world next to Huntsville. With so many family members in New York, it was easy to get drawn into the nightmare that was finding the missing and realizing it was your uncle or aunt. THANKFULLY everyone was fine. As a little kid, we would always drive to New York. It didn't matter what time of day or night it was, my parents would wake me up for three things: Seeing the Statue of Liberty as we came off of the New Jersey Turnpike heading past the Liberty Science Museum, crossing over into New York in the Holland Tunnel, and seeing the Twin Towers. Even now as a 23 year old man, whenever I head up north, I still look for them. To me it seems like your best friend with his two front teeth knocked out. The New York skyline just isn't the same. I wanted to get other's first hand thoughts and impressions from that day, and those will be up shortly. Our country was forever changed, and I hope we all will stay strong and get through this.
Clifton Jessup: I walked into my first class on September 11th just after the second tower had been hit. I remember looking at my Geography teacher, Mr. Solomon, as he stared up towards the television in the corner. He was the type of teacher that was only serious when he was pissed off--otherwise he was always making some kind of corny joke or wise crack. Well I still remember the somber look on his face (and every face in the room) that day. We sat and watched the ABCNews account of the disaster, saw the two towers smoldering from the impact, and heard the reporters giving all sorts of indefinite reports. I shouldn't even call them reports, because they all just seemed to be rehashing the same questions over and over again. Who did this? How many people were in the towers? What happens next? At least with Pearl Harbor, there some understanding of who and why it happened, but with this, nobody had any answers. So for a bunch of uninformed high school students, it stirred up a great deal of fear and chaos. Because I was a senior in high school on September 11th, there were a lot of questions running through my head. Do we have any family/friends that could've been at the Towers today? Will there be an attack in Dallas? What does this mean for college? Is a war about to break out? Would they actually draft us to fight if there was? My mind was racing from thought to thought, but just like the reporters, I had no answers either. All I could do was pray and wait for more information. We actually had a chapel service to calm everybody down. Of course, our misguided principal saw it as an opportune time to prepare 150 students for the worst possible situation--bombs destroying cities, the president drafting us and our brothers and fathers into war, and the mangling and destruction of our present and future. Obviously, that was the last thing any of us needed to hear, and it led to a lot of crying and questioning and worrying for the rest of the day.
But most of all, I remember that day for what it meant to me spiritually. I have to say that, of all the days of my life, it was the one where my entire outlook on my own future was shaped. On September 11th, my priorities changed. I remembered the sudden destruction that Jesus said would come in a time where the world thought it was a time of "peace and safety." I realized that so much of what I saw as important on a daily basis was, on September 11th, insignificant. And I realized how weak my own faith was because I was so afraid of whatever would come of the 9/11 attacks, be it war, or even the end of the world. The sad thing is, when I look back on what has happened in the last 6 years, neither me or my country has fully acknowledged and responded to the lessons we learned from 9/11. We're still selling and distributing weapons to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the same way that we did in previous decades, empowering men like Bin Laden and Saddam to do what they've done. And though I've strayed from the sober mindset of Tuesday morning, I will forever remember the impact it had on that change-filled time in my life.

1 comment:

T3FLON said...

I was asleep in my dorm bed and I thought it was a dream (my clock radio was on a news channel going through the events). Then I realized it was real and woke up. I watched the second plane hit the towers on TV in Pun's room. It was unreal for about the first 30 minutes. Then I called my family and our family in New York (they were all ok, praise God). The rest of the day was a blur.