My story isn't groundbreaking or heartbreaking. It's not admirable or heroic. It might not even be that interesting. Aside from a canceled senior trip to Europe, I wasn't affected. But on a day when I was asked to stop for a moment of reflection in the produce section of the grocery store and The Sounds of Silence feels like it's on repeat, no other story seems worth telling.
I was a senior in high school and overjoyed when my world history teacher left class to fetch copies of Hammurabi's code. The best part? He was gone for over thirty minutes. When he finally returned, he told us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
At this point, I was sure it was just a terrible accident. The World Trade Center meant nothing to me other than a few more giant buildings in a sea of skyscrapers that impressed me in movie after movie. I don't think I knew anything about terrorists, and I certainly didn't know that the WTC had a history of terrorism.
We may have gotten out of school early, I can't remember - the rest of the day is a blur. But I'll always remember one moment that afternoon, sitting in front of my best friend's TV, and finally realizing the severity of what had happened: TRL wasn't on. Even MTV - the place I went to drown out my problems with boy bands and pop stars - had cancelled their programming.
Stuck in traffic on the interstate back to my house, I listened to the radio rehash the events of the day and looked around at the other cars. I had an overwhelming feeling that we were all listening to the same thing. It was surreal but at the same time a precursor to the sense of solidarity that now, ten years later, it seems like people miss.
My heart goes out to anyone whose story is heartbreaking or heroic.
Two blog posts I loved today:
*I was taking photography my senior year, and our teacher suggested we capture patriotic images. Comforting to see my choice of subject hasn't changed.