Today is September 11, 2016. Fifteen years ago, I was starting second grade. It was shaping up to be a better school year than the last, and I really enjoyed my new teacher and class. On our way to lunch, my teacher received a note asking to send me to the front office. I was hungry, so I thought that whoever was coming to pick me up wouldn’t mind if I grabbed a bite first. I was wrong, as my dad came straight to the cafeteria, younger brother in hand, and pulled us both out of school. I complained that I had left my backpack, but the teacher had gotten it to him. I was a weird kid, and I wasn’t too pleased at not being able to complete my school day, but I kept quiet all the way home.
Dad sat us both up in the “TV” room, long before we all stopped watching TV, and started flipping channels. It was on a weird number, maybe some kids channel, so he had to circle around for the news. I remember I saw my favorite sick day show, Zaboomafoo, and asked him to stop. And when he didn’t, I complained like any other seven year old would. And my dad landed on the news just in time for me to watch two towers smoke. I still don’t know if it was live, or a repeat. I sat with my eyes glued to the newscast until they fell.
The thing about my parents, they have always been a little paranoid, and they pay a lot of attention to politics as well. Dad was off that day, so when they got wind of what was going on in New York, my mom told him to pull my brother and I out of school, a rare occasion, and she herself was coming home early. When mom got home, she and dad started to explain what was happening to the best of their knowledge. They were more optimistic about my understanding level than I was, but according to my mom, I was already curious about world affairs. But I was very naïve, and even though I knew that some people liked to hurt other people, I never imagined that anyone would ever want to hurt so many people at once. That instant of watching a tower collapse and knowing that there were still people in there completely shifts your point of view, even for a seven year old.
So, if you were born before 2001, and remember, where were you?