This is my one day late memorial of the September 11th attacks. I started writing this on the 11th but it just wasn’t good enough until the 12th. It still isn’t really as good as I’d like it to be.
First I’d like to share some of my experiences on the day of September 11th 2001. I was nine years old at the time so I had just arrived at the socialist compound that the adults in my life called school. It was a Catholic school so it was more repressive feeling than any other school I’ve been in. They treated us like we had no capacity to understand what was going on around us and today was no different. Early in the morning, nearest I can figure it must have been around 8:30 the principal of the school announced over the intercom that we were all to head to the church that was attached to our building to pray for some people who had died in an accident this morning. This was only a little bit unusual because the school had us pray for everything that happened. If someone got in a car accident nearby or someone was ill we’d take time out to pray for them. I hindsight it was sort of a nice gesture to do this for people but it was also odd that they would think that forcing children to pray for something they knew nothing about would somehow make their prayers have a greater effect.
So we went to the church and prayed for about a half an hour which was a really long time compared to the other times we had done this, though I didn’t notice that until later. What I did notice though was that the administrative staff all seemed to be very forlorn, or worried about something. It felt as if this incident had some personal consequence, or had just scared the living hell out of them. No joke intended there… I also noticed that all of our teachers seemed to be as much in the dark as we were, and they seemed confused for the rest of the day. You have to keep in mind that Internet was much less of a powerful force in these days and most of the rooms in our building had no outside connection at all. The day continued as normal with only a few students being picked up by their parents shortly after we got out of church. I assumed they had some sort of social function or an appointment.
I had always been an admirer of the architecture and odd symmetric beauty of the twin towers. I’m not sure why, but when I look at them I was sort of awestruck. It was a symbol of human power to me, and the power of thinking, and the greatness of this country. I knew that it was the first thing many people from Europe would see of our country before landing on our soil and I was proud of that. I loved the buildings so much that when we were having a history lesson at school I would always turn to the page in our book that had the picture of the towers on it and just look at the picture and sometime read the text. I had long called them my favorite buildings in the world, though I didn’t know what their function was.
My mom picked me up after school this day and the first thing she said as we were driving away was, “Did they tell you about what happened today?” I said something along the lines of “No. What happened?!” to which she responded, “Two planes flew into your favorite buildings…” I said, “It was that big?!” Mom, “Yeah. the buildings collapsed and lots of people died.”From what I remember I kind of got sad at this point partly for the loss of the towers and partly because of so many people dying, but I was still really confused. I continued asking stupid questions all they way home and by the time we got there I think I had pretty much put together that the US had been attacked, and that scared me… as I’m sure it did everyone.
What I’m sure I was still confused about was what this meant. I had heard of how wars began and how they played out but my country had never been at war in my lifetime. I was sure this was something like war but I didn’t know what war was. I came home to the TV running replays of the footage and CNN anchors talking about the Terrorists and how the president was safe and hadn’t yet made a comment… I don’t really remember a whole lot after that clearly. Just that I was shaken and scared about the future.
Being a huge fan of architecture I wanted to post a few pics of the new memorial and the freedom tower which I think may just be my new favorite structures in the world. They are both incredibly beautiful and I hope you all agree.
here they are.