Last night I had one of those dreams where you wake up exhausted. I dreamt that I was with my family and FH, and we were in New York City visiting. Our hotel was on 42nd Street and close to Broadway, maybe like a block or two away. Our hotel was over taken by Muammar Gaddafi. He wasn’t really Gaddafi, he was like a hybrid Gaddafi-Bin Laden (don’t ask, my brain is so messed up). My parents wouldn’t let FH and I be alone together so we tried to escape, and we managed to escape the hotel just before Gaddafi-BinLaden Hybrid took over and locked down the hotel. We were running away being chased and shot at by terrorists. I don’t know how we got to my apartment (which isn’t in NYC) but we did. We decided to hide in my walk-in closet. We wrapped ourselves in clothes. My walk-in closet turned into an enormous room (not that I’d be opposed to this happening in real-life). The Gaddafi-Bin Laden Hybrid was chasing after two girls he wanted as wives, and one of them was this young blonde girl. She came into my closet and started taking clothes off of the rack and our cover was almost blown. I woke up thinking about terrorists, guns, and 9/11.
I can’t believe ten years has passed since 9/11 happened. When I look at my students, I can’t imagine what they remember about it, because they were only five, six, or seven years old. I was a senior in high school. I was sitting in my AP English class. We had just finished watching something lame like Camelot. I don’t know why we were watching that crap, because I don’t remember reading it. When we finished watching it, for whatever reason our class decided to discuss who would take over for the President if he was killed or died and so on. We were laughing at how it was strange that the Secretary of Agriculture would take over if God-forbid the Presidential Line of Succession was to be needed. A student walked into our classroom and told the teacher what was happening. Because we were in a portable she couldn’t turn the news on, so we had to wait until our next class to see what was happening.
Looking back I realize how I didn’t understand what was happening. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. When I look at footage from 9/11, it blows my mind at how clueless I was. I had a teacher who had children who worked in the World Trade Center, and this same teacher had another child who was flying to New York that day. I remember seeing her running around school freaking out. Teachers aren’t supposed to freak out. I remember driving around with my best friend and flipping through radio channels and hearing Osama Bin Laden’s name for the first time.
9/11 is similar to Kennedy’s assassination in the way that you don’t forget where you were when it happened. You remember strange details about that day. I can tell you what seat in my English class I was sitting in, and where my friends were sitting too.
Two weeks after 9/11 my drama class took its annual field trip to NYC to see Broadway shows. A few parents didn’t want their children to go, but my mother (smartly) thought it was important that my sister and I go. Only a few kids dropped out of that trip–I think 2 or 3. My mother said if it was our time to go, it was our time to go.
I stood at Ground Zero while it was still smoking and it wasn’t until then that my seventeen year old brain began to process it all. I remember native New Yorkers yelling at us. Telling us it wasn’t a tourist site. To go away. To leave New York alone. I remember one of my teachers explaining to the New Yorker that it was important that we see the devastation so we could understand the evil and what happened.
While I still can’t understand the evil, I won’t forget the smoke and the ash that was still there after two weeks and beyond. The pain. The devastation.
Today, I couldn’t stop thinking about what that day was like for me (selfish), and trying to empathize as best I could with those children whose mother’s were pregnant with them as their father’s died, or those who survived and don’t know why. One of the most difficult things to face about 9/11 is the helplessness that the country experienced watching as the attack unfolded live before our eyes. So instead of feeling helpless, I’ve prayed that the victims, the family of the victims, and America one day find peace.