Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11, 2001: Still With Me

Just to start, please don't get political with me or my views. This is my opinion, how I see things. I will accept your criticisms, but just don't talk about how much of an idiot I am.

September 11, 2001. The day of infamy. The newspapers from September 12, 2001 and beyond lie in a yellowing stack in my father's office. I have never looked at any of them. My parents never let me. As a fourth grader, I was too young. Maybe some day I will look at the newspapers, read the articles, and look at the pictures.

But anyway, back to the day. As most people describe it, and many September 11s afterwards, it was a perfect day. I was fourth grader. I got on the bus. I went about the routine a fourth grader should go through. Then it started to get weird. People were just getting picked up out of school and I didn't know why. It is something that would be very unnerving to me today, but I still thought nothing of it.

Then, after lunch, my teacher, Mrs. Nelson, told us that something had happened. She said that she didn't feel that she was the one to tell us and that she would let our parents tell us. This is probably the clearest memory I have of the day. On the bus ride home, the rumors were swirling: West Nile virus, bug spraying, planes crashing. None of it made sense to me.

When I got home, my parents, looking very somber, sat me down with my sister and explained to me what happened. I could not comprehend what had happened. I did not even know what the Twin Towers looked liked. I did not truly comprehend until weeks later when I summoned enough courage to watch the news, and I was shocked. I still have trouble putting the pieces together when I see pictures of the World Trade Center before the attacks. So tall, so invincible. How could two planes bring them down so quickly?

However, my reaction was not the typical "Let's get 'em!" reaction. Mine was more "Why?" I loathe Osama Bin Laden, but after 9/11 I was more concerned with "Why?" When coalition forces invaded Afghanistan to remove the Taliban from power, I was ok with that move. It seemed necessary. However, I did not see the need for Iraq. I don't want to get political, but I support the troops, not the war.

In the years following 9/11, I have made many connections to the day. The funeral of my great-uncles, a former Naval officer, was September 11, 2002. The funeral, which took place outside of Philadelphia, reached it's emtional climax, as a employee of the cemetary played taps as the casket was being lowered.

Today, many of my teachers told stories about September 11. During my chemistry class, we had the option of attending a mass in our auditorium. My chemistry teacher said, "I didn't stop teaching for 9/11 and I'm not going to stop for it now." I was sort of taken aback, but after she explained that she was trying to take her students' minds off of the tragedy, I totally understood. It's not like she wanted to keep teaching.

Another, more harrowing story, comes from my Spanish teacher. Every September, my school hosts a foreign exchange program with a school from Spain. The Spainiards visited New York City and stood on top of the Twin Towers on September 10, 2001, less than 24 hours before the first plane hit. My current Spanish teacher was supposed to go on the trip, but she had a gut feeling that she did not want to go to New York. After the exchange, the students took their time-stamped tickets that read "September 10, 2001" and 11:26 AM" home as a sort of morbid souvenir of the trip.

The one thing 9/11 brought out was the inner patriot in every American. The only problem, in my mind, is that the patriotism has almost totally disappeared. I love America. I dislike the current administration. So do many other people. The country divided almost as soon as it was unified, which makes me feel very uncomfortable. Are people only going to be united when over 3,000 innocent people are killed? Is that the only way we can be united? I include myself in that. We do not need to wait for something to happen to be united. We should be united anyway. Unity should be something always present. Unity should overcome everything, including religion.

That brings me to my next point. I don't have a problem with any Muslims or Arabs or Iraqis or Afghans. I have basically forgiven that stereotyped region of the world. I see nothing wrong with Islam. I had to do a report on it as freshman, and I see nothing wrong with it. I do have a problem with extremists, but then again, I have a problem with extremists in all religions. In discussions in my AP Human Geography class, we realized that September 11 was tied with religion and the extremist Muslims disagreements with American/Western culture. Some of the tension between Christians and Muslims Discriminations against people because they are Muslim bother me. Some people do not realize how connected Christianity and Islam are.

People need to know. That's the only way we can overcome these tragedies.

However, most people don't know. It's a sad thing.

September 11, 2001 is a day that lives in infamy. It should never stray far from our minds, along with the Oklahoma City Bombing, the first World Trade Center bombing, and all other tragedies that have had an impact on our great nation.


Mac said...

This was a very good post.

I saw one of the towers fall. And was saying "why?" as well. But, in the years after 9/11 I've always had a hate towards the Al Queda.
Really, this is a religious war. They have a hate for our culture and our Christian beliefs in the U.S. They attacked us for so many reasons.

I've been raised in a Southern Baptist family. Both of my parents dont pay ANY attention to the news. And so of course, they support Bush. I do not. I do not support the war in Iraq. But thats getting political, LQTM.

9/11/01 will always stay with me. I have never actually considered forgiving those that attacked us. And I guess that's imature of me.

-mizzoufootball- said...

Great blog. I know me and you have had our differences, Dr. Cool, but I deeply agree with every word you said. I was in 3rd grade when 9/11 came upon us. I was and still am in the same boat as you.

While it may not seem like it, this country is united. It will always be.

It seems like yesterday. Truely a day that America will NEVER forget.

God Bless the US


another view of it and it isnt mine. it is a GREAT blog as well.

Cardsox said...

I got a Google account to leave this message on your blog:

I, Cardsox, hereby bow to your, Daniel G., incredibly writing skills. I may have more years of journalism experience, but you, my friend, have a gift of words.

ncoolong said...

Very nicely done. Clear, not cheesy, definitely something you want to be proud of.

Michael said...

Excellently written from your viewpoint as a 4th grader. My daughters were in 5th and 8th grade at the time and have similar recollections.

I do implore you to study more about why they did it in the name of Islam rather than blame politicians. There is much you still don't know about the situation, but you do a great job of expressing what you do know.

theterminator said...

Good blog. I seem to catch myself wanser into thinking about 9/11 when I'm bored. I was in 6th grade when it happened. I was home sick, and playing the computer. Age of Empies, I was Yamamoto, and I had just beat the Persians I think. Thats how well I remember it. I was hungry, so I want up stairs to get something to eat. We had a TV in the kitchen, so I turned it on, and instead of watching a soap opera, I was watching the news, or Regis and Kelly. I'm not sure which.
All of a sudden, the TV cut away form whatever it was on and it showed the tower in smoke. I was thinking something inside exploded, but they soon got the tape of the plane. I was worried for the people inside and on the plane, worried for their families. I thought it was an accident...until the second plane came. It was then I knew, as everyone else did, that this was murder.

The next few days, as it became more and more apparent that it was a terrorist attack, I felt more and more like I wanted to see someone pay.

Now before I continue, I would like to say that my favorite show as a 3-4 year old was "COMBAT!" Which was a WWII show. I was always a fan of war movies.

I wanted to see the people who did this held accountable. Eventually, I became glued to the TV, hungry for news as to who did it. When it came out that is was a Afghani terrorist group, I watched the bombings in the beginning through the news, and threads through the internet.

I wanted to go to Ground Zero, help clean up. Find someone trapped inside, and save their life. I wanted to be the hero. Not famous, I just wanted to help.

Now, I do have a minor predjudice against islam. I'm not afraid to admit it. I don't think all of them are scum, but many islamic people are exteremists and militant. The figure is somewhere around 60% of them have openly condemed the US and Israel. More so Israel. If I were to speak to a muslim, then maybe I would come to like him/her, but only him/her. Not one person can convince me that all of them are okay, but I know there are many who are happy to be free of Hussein and Bin Laden. But I will never forget that day, and therefore, I will always have to be convinced that the person I am talking to is an innocent muslim.

I agree with your position about patriotism. There is almost no such thing as patriotism anymore. I'm not TRYING to be biased, but to Democrats more so. Very many are trying to restrict the rights of Americans, and give them to Mexicans, etc. Thats is something I am not okay with.

(P.S. DO NOT forget that in the immediate time following 9/11, a group of islamic college students picketed outside their college, saying that 9/11 should have happened. Those people DESERVED what they got. To me, I believe those students should have deported back to where they came from.) <--Just a little thing to get off my chest.