Growing up, I listened to my grandmother tell stories of when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. She would tell say things like, “I remember exactly where I was, and what I was doing…” and with this, she would stare off into space and get emotional, like it happened yesterday. This was the major event of her generation, just as Pearl Harbor was to her mother’s generation. I never thought anything like that would happen and come to define every generation that watched the towers fall.
It was 10 years ago today that The Twin Towers were attacked, along with the Pentagon and the failed attempt on the White House that ended up with Flight 93 crash landing in a field. I didn’t have to do an ounce of research to know what happened; it’s become something engrained in my memory, a terrible reality that almost every American born before September 11th, 2001 knows and mourns every year. I was in the third grade, sitting in a small classroom at Maddock Elementary in Burbank, Ill., and I can remember a bright, sunny day. We were only in school for an hour or two before I noticed some kids were being called to the office, and going home. At one point, a classmate’s mom actually walked into the class, picked up her child, and walked out. The teacher didn’t say a word. I was not taken out of school early, so I sat in the classroom, and waited for 2:30 PM for my dad to come pick me up. At the end of the day, I found my little brother, who was in 1st grade, and we found my dad’s car. We got in and immediately noticed the concerned look on his face. He told us what happened, and my first thought was, “It’s going to happen to Chicago.” My brother really didn’t understand, but I was terrified. My young mind couldn’t really imagine or picture the devastation when I stared out the window and saw my suburban town; all I could see was the beautiful sky above us.
This last paragraph, my reflection, I purposely saved for this morning. I sit looking outside at that same, exact sky. I felt a chill go up my spine when I woke up, it was a flood of memories I never wanted to come back. It hurt; it actually hurt to remember that day. I have to admit, I was never one to get emotional on the anniversary of 9/11, I knew it was a major event that needed to be remembered, but I never understood why people not directly impacted by the attack got so emotional. This year, September 11th, 2011, I fully understand why people get emotional. Americans connect to each other, not only in times of tragedy, but in everyday life. One American’s sorrow is all of America’s sorrow. We are one nation, undivided by tragedy or loss. We are a people of understanding, so while we did declare war, we did not point fingers at other Americans, and we will never forget how our country came together and stood as one. So stop at some point today, no matter where you are, and think about exactly where you were and how you felt. I bet those emotions will come up like it happened yesterday.
-Matt Morsovillo, Staff Reporter