That puts me at age 10 when it happened – not old enough for adults to tell you anything right away. I overheard a few kids saying something about a plane crash. I think we were sent home early.
I remember calling my mom when I got home, or maybe she called me. She told me that there had been a terrorist attack, and to leave the TV off until she and my dad got home. So of course I turned it on.
When you’re little, those images of the towers burning don’t mean much. You don’t have any real comprehension of the fact that people were inside those buildings, inside the planes. You know that some people died, but it’s so removed from yourself. I was more bothered that the usual routine was interrupted.
Nothing else was happening, so I turned off the TV before the towers fell. Maybe that would have bothered me more.
In the days and weeks that followed all I remember is my parents and teachers telling me that we were safe, that Noblesville wasn’t high on the terrorist target list. I remember wondering why they were telling me this, because I wasn’t worried. I couldn’t comprehend anything like that happening to me. It was more scary that the adults seemed so eager to reassure me.
Now that I’m older and watch the clips, the full meaning is perfectly clear. Those people were daughters, mothers, sons, fathers, husbands, wives. When the adults saw those people dying, they saw themselves. They saw their families. They were more scared than I was.
I don’t buy that the attacks were somehow America’s fault. There’s no excuse for slaughtering innocent people in cold blood like that, slaughtering for the sole purpose of scaring others. There’s no logic to that. That’s just reckless hate.
How to solve the problem of that hate is something for another day. Today and every anniversary about 9/11 is about honoring and remembering the victims, cut down for no reason other than that they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. To remember the first responders who did all they could to save them, some losing their own lives in the process. To take account of your own blessings and to remember your loved ones.
I love this country. That means loving its people, and the values we share that have made us the most free and prosperous nation in the history of the world. I’ll never forget that, and I’ll never forget the people who lost their lives eleven years ago.