I Want to Always Remember


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.

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  • http://mariellegreen.com/ Marielle

    I agree, it’s so important to remember those people. I remember being baffled that those health bills for the first responders were being blocked; it just seemed so inhumane. And now, honestly, I have no idea what the status of that is. I’ve never been to Ground Zero either, but my high school band went to Jennerstown for the memorial.

  • http://www.emily-makes.com/ Emily Spada

    Very tasteful post for a day like today. I only put a photo because I don’t feel I can say much more than anything I’ve already said. It was a terrible time, especially being so close to NYC. When I was 11, I didn’t fully grasp the horror of what happened, but now I do and it’s all the more upsetting.

  • http://www.sheisfierce.org/ Kiersten McMonagle

    I definitely think that the only reason I understood, at least on a certain level, how awful it was is because my dad worked in an O.R. in Philly, and was immediately sent home. I’d never heard of them closing the O.R. on a not holiday and sending my dad home from work. But I think it took me years to REALLY grasp it because like you, I was 11 at the time.

  • http://www.sheisfierce.org/ Kiersten McMonagle

    I haven’t heard anything about it either… I hope it was passed though

  • http://www.thestyledunce.com/ Katie @ The Style Dunce

    Very eloquent post. This is what gets me: “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.” I can’t even imagine having to make that decision. It must have been so, so terrifying for the people who died.

  • http://www.beertimewithwagner.wordpress.com/ Jordan Beck Wagner

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I was in 5th grade living in downtown D.C. I remember teachers crying and students wondering if their parents were still alive. We had to personally get picked up by a parent that day to make sure our parents were still alive. It’s an experience I have trouble articulating to anyone who wasn’t in D.C. or NYC. I moved to a small town in Michigan a year after 9/11 and they just swept it under the rug…no one would talk about it or even acknowledge it! It is something we can’t, and shouldn’t ever forget. Thank you for taking time and talking about it today. xo

  • http://www.sheisfierce.org/ Kiersten McMonagle

    I can’t imagine living somewhere that close… I was in Philly, and that was scary enough – and I also can’t imagine moving to somewhere where it’s just completely ignored. High-school sophomore year when they didn’t bring it up made me angry. My cousin said when she moved to California, she got so angry when people never talked about it and when she’d ask where they were, none of them even knew. I don’t understand how you can forget something like that…

  • Shybiker

    Nice remembrance, buddy. We all have a personal connection to this event, even those who don’t live in New York. Long before it happened, I visited the WTC and had a friend who worked on top of it maintaining the antennas.
    I grasp your child’s understanding of the tragedy. My first political memory was similar — it occurred when I was seven years old. All the adults around me suddenly stopped their daily lives, watched TV endlessly and cried. I didn’t understand what it meant that the President had been shot and killed, but I sensed the importance of the tragedy.

  • Shybiker

    It was finally passed after lawmakers were embarrassed by publicity from people like Jon Stewart (“The Daily Show”).

  • http://www.sheisfierce.org/ Kiersten McMonagle

    I imagine that being a very similar day in history… My mom always says how awful that day was for her, and her family.

  • Meghan

    I was only nine & I think the only reason I grasped it as well as I did was because my dad is a police officer and that really hit home for me. But I still don’t think it really set in for me until my stepdad was called up to go overseas because of 9/11. For me, it’s our generation’s moment, I will always remember where I was when I heard about it, much like my parents remember hearing about the Challenger and my grandparents the day that JFK was shot.