By: Jack Minchew
I’ve heard it said that there are some events in your life where you remember exactly where you were when you heard about them. My grandparents were young on December 7, 1941, but they remembered Pearl Harbor. My mother was only in kindergarten, but she remembers coming home on November 22, 1963 and seeing her mother sobbing from the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
I know I’ll always remember September 11, 2001.
It was my second week of kindergarten, but I remember it like it was yesterday. My class was in the midst of a lesson on analog clocks. The teacher was using a big plastic clock, and we all had little clocks. One of the ladies from the office walked in, with bloodshot eyes, and whispered something to the teacher, whose face immediately darkened. She then announced that there would be early dismissal. The whole class cheered. I remember my mom picking me up and asking if I had heard anything about planes. I remember quiet, no cars driving by, and no planes overhead, just the TV in the background, showing things I wasn’t allowed to see, and saying things I wasn’t allowed to hear.
I didn’t know any of the heroes of 9/11. I didn’t lose any friends or family. It wouldn’t be right for me to attempt to describe the grief and sorrow felt by those who did.
But I know that when American Airlines Flight 11, the first of the 4 hijacked planes, crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, something changed. In a day, a nation of almost 285 million people, all working for their own American dream, became something more. Americans felt more than just sadness for those who had died. We felt sadness as a nation.
Ten years have passed since that terrible day, and so much has changed. My generation are the children of 9/11, and of all the people September 11th influenced, we were the ones whose lives it has made. I cannot even remember what it is like to not have a war.
This Sunday, as we look back at the tumultuous decade which 9/11 ushered in, let us pause and remember those who lost their lives for their country. Not just the initial victims of the attacks, but the first responders, and the soldiers who fought in wars they brought, and those whose lives were changed forever by loss.