I didn’t realize the date until a picked up a copy of USA Today from the library. I thought it was a mistake.
My classmates didn’t realize until we had to put it on an assignment. “Oh, it’s nine-eleven,” was exclaimed about five times in succession as one by one students finally realized that yes, it is, in fact, that dreaded day.
And that was it. An exclamation.
It wasn’t until 8:46 that we observed the traditional moment of silence. Ms. Castro usually leads it for the whole school. She didn’t. As far as we know it was just our little class of twenty that took out class time to remember the victims. But even then, the constant coughing, shuffling, and whispering made it the loudest moment of silence I’d ever experienced.
It made me sad to think that today marks a day that changed our lives forever, even if we were not born, and no one cared to talk about it.
That is, until last period when the students begged to talk about it. We almost didn’t; we had so much to do that it wasn’t going to be discussed at all. It would be the second year in a row that Mrs. Borges hadn’t given her famous presentation.
But we spoke about it. And I immediately understood why some would rather forget it. The information was not new to me; the event is one that has been discussed every year of my education since it began. But it still hit me like it was my first time hearing it. Like it was my first time hearing the screams and the phone calls. Or the first time seeing people walking out covered in ash, desperately jumping from the buildings, or watching the towers crumble like kinetic sand in a matter of seconds.
I thought about how this event that I was too young to even remember had impacted my life so much, though none of my family were victims. I thought of the hopelessness and fear everyone must’ve felt. I realized I felt the same with the string of recent school shootings, a list that keeps growing longer.
I thought of these things and I cried, because what else can one do? I constantly try to understand the evil in this world but to this day I can’t comprehend it. The AP Psychology class I’m currently in has only slightly cleared things up.
When I was finally done crying, wiping my tears and composing myself, I saw that I wasn’t the only one doing so. No matter how many years of hearing it, it hurts all the same. This day is a wound that will never heal. And as I sat there in that classroom of 15-17 year-olds I realized: the oldest of us are too young to remember and the youngest of us weren’t even alive, but we will never forget.