It was around 9:15 AM, in third period Pre-Algebra of seventh grade, when the principal suddenly walked in during a class lesson. He whispered in a calm but urgent voice into Mr. Kienzle’s ear. As if prompted, Mr. Kienzle turned on the TV, and we saw one of the World Trade Centers, while the other one ceased to be. The one standing had smoke all around it. At first, I thought it was the media’s signature over-dramatization of events, and that there was just a fire and you couldn’t see the other tower because of adept camera angling. But then I came home and saw it all for myself as 37 stations replayed the tragic footage over and over again: the two towers falling; the planes plunging into the vertical sea of glass and metal; people all around, running and shrieking. The towers had just been hit that day, but it wasn’t just the towers that fell. Everyone that knew someone that died that day fell into a dark pit of grief.
A Day That Changed a Nation: 9-11-01
In that day of terror, fate had dealt me a fortunate hand. I am lucky enough to not have had any part of my being destroyed through the death of a loved one in those attacks. As far as I know, no one in my family felt a deep personal loss. We were, however, shocked and horrified at the mass loss of life. This fateful day changed my knowledge of the United States: we’re not as perfect as I once thought. But we do strive to be the best; and we succeed at it.
Through necessity comes discoveries, and we deemed it important to modify a few things for the safety of our country. We have more strict security measures. We are thwarting future attacks through exterminating the problem at the root, through the War on Terror. We were also reminded of the insane power and, therefore, responsibility this country holds by the obliteration of the terrorist urban centers of Afghanistan and Iraq and the apprehension of the cruel, but influential leader of Iraq, and that is Saddam Hussein. The world now has a higher degree of unity, as demonstrated in the worldwide awareness effort called Live 8. 9/11, in my opinion, is at least partly responsible for this high a magnitude of concord, this collective a global community. Yet, the historic day of 9/11 has also bred fearful prejudice: prejudice of anyone of Middle Eastern skin. While not all people have resorted to this level of thinking, a considerable amount of people have. It’s against those people in which the terrorists emerge victorious.
Although I have not been personally affected, through familial loss, by 9/11, millions have had to start over their lives, not only from the loss of steady financial income for the functioning of the family unit, but just through the devastating fact that people they didn’t even know stole his or her life away. That individual was simply not coming home that day. Or any day. In the far future, thousands, if not millions, will be able to trace their family history, their family tree, back to victims of 9/11. I can only hope that when they do so, at the very least, they are filled with a majestic ambiance of soaring patriotism