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.