Honoring and remembering all first responders, victims, families, America and the world:
Starting yesterday the stories were everywhere.
This story resonated because I am also not white, I have been called every nationality you can imagine, and my fellow Jewish brother and his friends had an awakening after 9/11:
9/11 always reminds me of a small memory I keep tucked away in some part of my brain.
When I was in high school, a lot of kids used to joke with me about being a terrorist because of my skin color. Just jabs that I’m sure they felt were inconsequential and that I had learned to take with good nature.
I was in gym class when the first plane hit, outside playing tennis, so my class was one of the few not to have any idea what was going on. It would only be in 2nd period when we would all stop going to other classes because we had seen the second plane hit.
As I walked from gym class to that second class, I passed a friend of mine who said, “Hey, was that one of your friends in the plane?”
I had no idea what she was talking about. I just laughed like I did and moved on.
That’s when I walked into a class where everyone was stuck staring at the tv screen. We watched as the second plane hit, as people jumped out of the buildings to avoid being burned alive, as one tower crumbled, realizing numbly that thousands had just died, then another, and again… We watched as the scene replayed on the news over and over, as if the news itself was numbed, unable to come to grips with what happened, as if we were all just replaying it so we didn’t have to think about it.
I remember another thought. I remember thinking, at some point that day, how I used to wish I had been alive during a more historic time, how I kind of almost wished I could witness a tragedy in a weird way, because I felt like I had missed out on anything important, that the time we lived in seemed just so safe that maybe I missed something.
And I remember thinking as the tragedy started to make its way into my bones, how stupid of a thought that was, how witnessing history is nothing like a movie or a book where we already know the ending, where the context is in place in our minds and makes sense. This was messy, this had no answers, and ultimately this was just horrifying, the loss of life, the families destroyed, the pain coursing throughout my school, my town, my country.
It took days, maybe weeks, for me to remember that small comment my friend made. I finally understood. She was joking that I was connected with the 9/11 terrorists. But when she made that joke, even she had no clue what had really happened. Everyone thought it was something small, maybe an accident. It was only when the second plane hit that we understood. It was only when the towers fell that we knew this was beyond anything normal.
I never got made fun of like that again.
I have no doubt that the reason for my friends and others was the same reason I suddenly understood that history wasn’t a game, exciting, or fun. It was just reality that had passed.
We had experienced reality, we seniors in high school, in a safe suburban upper middle-class town. In a moment, we had grown up in a way that seems to happen to every generation, sadly. We had grown up to know that life wasn’t a game. That words like “terrorist” mean something, even if it is distant from us, that safety is not something to take for granted, and that jokes and idle thoughts die on our lips the moment we are faced with their reality.
Here is mine.
I graduated high school in 1991 in Miami, moved to Los Angeles in 2000, and was back in Miami for my 10 year high school reunion in Setember, 2001. At that time the internet was AOL, and as I was browsing, I saw a news clip of two buildings burning, but it did not alarm me. I personally do not like news, it is always bad news, so I noticed it, but then went on with my own little world. I was alone at my childhood home, and eventually turned on the TV, and the news was everywhere of the planes crashing into the twin towers, that image playing over and over again, and it clicked that I just saw it on AOL when I first woke up, same time zone as New York. The airports were grounded, I didn’t know if I would make my flight back to Los Angeles in a few days. I still went to my high school reunion, but the world and America had changed, never to return to the free spirited, all allowing place for the masses to call home, when their own homes were full of conflict, fear, discrimination, and war.
Here are thoughts from a mellenial:
I’ve been told that I was in Hawaii at the time, which makes sense. We were snorkeling when it happened. We came back to land and someone said that something had happened at the Twin Towers. That’s all we knew.
Eventually, of course, we found out that two planes had flown into them. That’s news that’s a bit hard to miss. I don’t remember my parents’ reactions, because I don’t remember anything.
I don’t remember 9/11.
That doesn’t mean I can’t REMEMBER 9/11. That doesn’t mean that I can’t vow to love my country, and all those who love it, too.
That doesn’t mean I can’t vow to protect it.
That doesn’t mean I can’t encourage all of you, those who don’t remember, to remember.
On the memorial day of the September 11th.
God Bless their Souls.
The September 11th was the birthday of the world terrorism, and I hope that the countries whom supporting terrorism and terrorists will wake up today and makes there own accountability fot their responsibilities.
God Bless America.