I don’t know what compelled me to write about 9/11 eleven years later. It’s just been on my mind the last day or so, bear with me. I will be back to my regular scheduled programming of less-than-serious posts in no time!
September 11, 2001. I was 15 years old when the planes hit the twin towers. I was (and still am) a Canadian girl in a middle-class city with no relatives in the U.S. I don’t have a story to tell of a personal connection to the events, for that I am grateful.
It may be clichéd to say, but, I remember that day so, so vividly. Maybe this was the same thing as when our parents told stories of JFK being shot. This would be my generations’ tale of horror to share. Where were you, who were you with, how did people react. You remember the strangest details on those days.
I first heard of the attacks in my Grade 10 vocal class. A guidance counselor, or someone, came in to tell Mr. Hall (our vocal teacher) what had happened. Social media was non-existent and the internet was still a toy and not yet a tool, we did not have up to date information. The attacks took place a few hours before hand, but in London, Ontario we were just going off of hearsay from news stations. At this time we just thought it was a horrible, terrible accident. We had plans to go on a music trip to New York in the spring, and we were not going to let an accident damper our spirits.
The bell rang and I headed to history. A class I loved with one of my favourite teachers, Miss Groen. She was young, funky and was always full of energy. When we got to class the lights were off and Miss Groen was not there. She came into the classroom a few minutes after the students ushered in, wearing a checkered skirt and green sweater (again, the most minuet, useless details are stored). Her face was noticeably pale and she used a much softer tone than usual. I could tell by her expression she had started putting together the pieces and the gravity of the situation. She explained it is suspected to be an attack on the World Trade Centers, not an accident. A bunch of classes moved to a lecture hall to watch CNN. About 100 kids and four teachers sat silently around a 30 inch television on a rickity metal rack. I went to a high school that was a complete mix of Caucasian and Arabic students. Some would think in the days to follow race tensions would flare up. But from what I remember, it didn’t. And that day we all sat together, terrified, horrified, disgusted. Even the loudest, smart-ass never said peep. We all knew somehow the world had changed, but in what capacity, we didn’t know.
The bell rang to signal it was time for us to go home. The buses were still and quiet. My best friend came on my bus that day, she was worried about her family in the states. I remember trying to comfort her as best as I could, but I truthfully didn’t believe my promises that everything would be okay.
When we got to my house my mom was there. She was visibly upset, which was jarring to me because my mom has never been one to show much emotion. This meant whatever happened was really bad.
My friend and I took a walk through the park by my house, where the sky was blue, the sun was shining, children played on the slide, and I think it is the first time I truly realized what irony was. How could I be experiencing such a beautiful day when the world is going to hell?
That day, I didn’t take the blue skies and sunshine for granted.