Saturday, September 11, 2010
What makes us human
Coming from a boy, sitting behind a desk, in a middle school classroom, I could hear the response to a question my teacher had just posed: "Didn't a plane crash into them or something?"
Our history teacher had just asked us if we knew what the twin towers were. As 8th graders, we all knew what they were, but we never really knew the magic of them or what daily events went on there.
In the minutes following the news from our teacher that the twin towers had been under attack, our principal at the time, got on the PA system and asked that all teachers turn off their televisions and computers. On a day when mass chaos filled the streets of where I now live, I had never felt so disconnected.
At the time, I couldn't understand the hugeness of what was going on, but I did feel lost and angry that I didn't have the chance. My field hockey practice got canceled after school, and I went home with my then best friend where we began to get some more explanations from her mom. Words like "terrorism" and "war" were thrown out in the open, and for the first time in my life I heard the name "Osama Bin Laden."
That day was so surreal as I remember being able to see a faint bit of smoke from my kitchen window in the direction of where Flight 93 had crashed in Pennsylvania. Nine years later, I have a much better understanding on a day that now has a permanent place in history books.
This day has sparked debate, discussion, and many more questions in the last years as man people have chosen to look deeper into what cause the 9-11 incident.
While nothing seems clear about the attacks themselves, still, one thing has been very clear, and that is how it has affected each and every person differently.
Whether it is my story, or the one I posted months ago from my colleage (Story) , everyone's story is different.
On Thursday, as I read through the new Jorge and Laura Posada book, I was thrown a curve ball. Suddenly I was not only reading about the struggle of their son's illness, but now I was reading about Laura's 9-11 experience, in which her son was downtown at a hospital and she was uptown at home trying to get some rest. But as news came of the twin towers, she went into panic mode, and rushed out the door in the direction of the twin towers. She described the moment in great detail and it became clear that nothing else mattered at that moment to her than her baby boy.
As tears filled my eyes during my four train ride from the Bronx back into Manhattan, I realized how intensely emotions and experiences differed for people that day. And with 9-11 now upon us, today, for the 9th year since the attacks, I can only imagine that the feelings of loss and sadness running high.
The history books may dwell on concrete facts, but it is the stories that make it all real--the feelings--the thoughts--the hopes. It is these things that make that day. It is these things that make us human.
We will always remember.