I think anyone who was a teen or older will always know exactly where they were when that second plane hit the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. That moment when the life of every person in America changed.
Until that moment, we enjoyed a sense of safety. We had never known the fear and anguish other countries live in on the daily. For the first time, we felt that. And we have not settled back since. At least not how we were. I don’t think that we ever will.
There is not much any of us can say that hasn’t been said. It was a day that was so surreal that, at times, it still takes me a minute to realize that it was real. I remember driving to BCC on my way to Business Law. I was rocking to the music. One of the DJs mentioned that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. They started playing music.
Like most, I thought it was a small private plane. I thought, ohhh, someone is gonna be in trouble. By chance, the radio station threw it to its affiliate for an on-scene update. They started panicking, screaming that another plane had hit the other tower as they were giving it. Screaming that we were under attack.
Now, I would turn around. I would go home and rally my troops, doing a family headcount. Then, I was a stupid kid. I panicked. I knew it was a big deal. I knew what it meant. But I kept driving. I had a tape recorder in the car and pulled it out, recording the radio coverage and my reactions. My main concern was not knowing exactly where my oldest sister was, knowing she was in or near the city only for work. (she was fine).
I remember parking and walking to class. At that point, there were still people who didn’t know. You could tell. That wouldn’t last long. In my class, the professor made the announcement and gave us work to do while he went down to the lobby to watch the coverage.
A bit later, he walked into the room, and I will never forget what he said. I remember nothing in as exact detail as I remember that. “Class is canceled. The Twin Towers have crumbled, they are no more. Go to your family and hold them tight.” He walked out.
The walk back to the parking lot was different. I ran into my friends, girls I had hung out with since elementary school. We all had been trying to call home. None of us could get through. The circuits were all busy. It was insane, and we stayed for a while. Sitting close and watching the coverage.
Eventually, we left. On the way to the parking lot, I went by a group of people and noticed they were ganging up on someone. I met Amir that day. An Arab-American was being bullied by a group of kids looking to take their anger and fear out on anyone who might look like the monsters who did this.
Amir didn’t do this. I walked up to him, talked to him, and led him out of the frying pan. He and I remained friends our two years at Broome. I lost touch with him, he was a college friend at best, and we went to a community school, so it was harder to form closer attachments. I hope he was well. He was a great guy.
When I got home, we all gathered and watched the coverage. No one slept that night. We went to prayer gatherings at the local church, at least my mom and I did.
It’s a day no one wants to remember, and yet none of us can ever forget. So as we close out the 19th anniversary of this day, I hope that we don’t forget. I hope that we remember that we look inside as a society and dig for the resilience and hope that sprung up in the following days, weeks, and months. I hope we remember how it brought us together, and that we didn’t turn state against state and have infighting.
I hope we remember the good and the bad.
Until next time, that is how I see it.

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