It was 7th Grade. Middle School was time wasted. Mrs. Ford was my Geography teacher with bigger muscles in her fifties than most men had in their twenties.
I remember talking to a few girls that I would never ask out. I remember the call Mrs. Ford got at her desk while we “worked” on our worksheets. I remember her going to the television, turning on the news. She knew what was happening, what it all meant.
I didn’t know what was happening. The World Trade Center didn’t ring a bell. I was an ignorant kid with no emotional attachment to words like “terrorism”. I was an idiot.
Still, I recall the look on Mrs. Ford’s face. I remember the fear sweeping the world. I remember being told that the world had changed. I remember my parents saying that this was similar to when JFK was assassinated, that I’d have to remember where I was that day so that I could tell my kids.
Sure, eleven years later and I remember where I was when I found out. That’s simple. More importantly, I remember September 11th as the first time I felt, truly felt, a unison, a connection with every single person around me. In that one day, people everywhere in America became united. Heroes were born. Real heroes who had been living amongst us the whole time and gave their lives to save others.
That doesn’t happen every day. It doesn’t even happen once in a lifetime, not always. It shouldn’t. Something as miraculous and powerful as that unification can only come at a terrible cost.
I remember September 11, 2001 and I won’t ever forget the day “America” meant something more to me.