When I was in my sophomore year of high-school, 6 years after 9/11, I waited the entire school day for someone – a teacher, a classmate, the principal – the say something about the anniversary. By 7th period, after hours of discussing isosceles triangles, Hamlet, and World War II, I realized that it wasn’t going to happen. That somehow, we manage to remember our birthdays and how many days till the next party, and where and when and how we met our boyfriends, but 9/11 somehow seems to slip our collective minds.
This year, somehow, I forgot to write a post about it. I scheduled photos I took over the weekend and didn’t realize until I woke up this morning that photos weren’t what I wanted to be sharing today.
Thirteen years ago means that this tragedy happened while most of us were alive. I was in fourth grade, on my way to typing class when every adult in the small school building was called immediately to the principal’s office and we were all left waiting in the hallway, arguing about who had cooties.
I’ve never had a chance to see Ground Zero, which I guess seems fitting since I also never had a chance to see the World Trade Center before that day. But the image of them is printed into my mind as though I’d seen them a thousand times, walked past them on my way to school and work for more years than I can count. And I guess I have because as much as people neglect to say anything on this day each year, more photos and articles pointing to conspiracy theories, blaming Bush, blaming Obama, blaming religious people who had nothing to do with that day, claiming freedom and happiness for America…they crop up everywhere.
What I don’t see, what I think a lot of people forget even as they distinctly remember the numbers, are the thousands of people who died that day – in the World Trade Center, in the Pentagon, in those planes. The firefighters and rescue workers who lost their lives in the aftermath, trying to save whoever they could. The terrified men and women who were as old as I am now, who looked up and realized that their only option was to jump.
Those are the people I want to remember today, because as thankful as I am for the people who have risked their lives since then, who have lost their lives since then, all because of this day, these people never knew what was coming. They woke up that morning with no idea how their days would be ending, and their lives are the reason we are in this place that we are in now. I want to never stop remembering them, and their families, and what was lost that day.