It has been 13 years. YES. THIRTEEN YEARS. Can you believe how long it has actually been? I can remember that day like it was yesterday, and it is a memory I will always have. It is just not something you really ever seem to forget.
On the morning of September 11, 2001 I was laying down in my parent’s bedroom alongside my little sister. Our dad was out of town, clear across the country in Georgia and was planning on flying back the following day. It was roughly 6’oclock in the early morning, can’t really say what the exact time was considering I was knocked out and I could still sense how dark the room was. My sister and I use to always climb into my parents’ bed in the middle of the night, or early in the morning when one of them were out of town. My mom always kept her bedroom toasty, and warm. I can remember how soft and comfortable the bed always was, and especially on that morning.
I could feel my mom sitting down at the edge of the bed, as the comforter was being pulled and stretched over my feet. The TV was on the opposite side of the bed, it sat on a dresser on the wall. And it seemed as if she was facing in that direction. I couldn’t hear anything coming from the TV but as I lay there with my eyelids closed but my mind awake I could catch glimpses of the TV flashing, so I knew it was on at least. My mom moved her way closer to me, and sat right up against my back. I was laying on my dad’s side of the bed where the alarm clock was, my mom often listened to the morning news or our local radio station. And suddenly I heard her gasp, “OH MY GOD!”
I can’t really describe into detail how chilling it was when she said it. I could feel as if it were painful, or something piercing through her heart. It wasn’t the type of gasp that caught your attention as if you saw a spider, or dropped your phone on the ground… It was the type of gasp that releases from the body in distress or worry.
I remembering sitting up, blankly staring at her and waiting for her to tell me what happened. Was it dad? Did you forget to turn off the stove? What the hell just happened? And she didn’t say a word, she slowly raised her arm and pointed towards the TV as her eyes were glued to the television. She didn’t even blink, say a word, or take a breath at that very moment we saw an airplane crash into the twin towers. Let me remind you, I was only 10 years- old. I was in the 5th grade. To be quite honest with you, I didn’t even know what the Twin Towers were or where they were even located. But it doesn’t take a genius in geography to understand the powerful message it was sending through my eyes, my body, and my soul. I remember watching the news replay it over, and over, and over again. And I can remember thinking, who did this? Why did they do this? What is happening?
My mom called my dad immediately, and it was just chaos on the east coast. He wasn’t sure when he was going to come home, or what was happening. He knew just as much as we did, our country was under attack.
I got dressed, hopped in the car with my mom and sister, and we headed to school. I could feel the second I walked onto campus that things were right. Teachers were in this anxious and nervous mood, the kids weren’t playing as they normally did, and not only were they not acting normal but I wasn’t either. I got to class and we began talking about it. You’d be surprised how intelligent we were at the whopping age of 10, we all have brilliant little minds that even adults were baffled by. We talked about the situation, who these people were and why they were doing what they were doing to us. Our teacher explained to us in the “dumbest version” possible how politics worked and what could possibly be going on with our country. But of course, we couldn’t grasp that concept. The only concept we seemed to grasp onto was, how can a group of human beings cause an entire massacre to our country to prove a point and send a message? At 10 years old, I didn’t quite understand. And even 13 years later, I can’t say that I do now. I don’t think anyone really does. We tell ourselves these things, and listen to these big powerful men and women who tell us what to think about the situation but ultimately, do we in fact understand? I cannot answer that question for you, but speaking for myself… I can’t say that I do.
A few days later my dad returned home, and that was the first time I ever saw my dad cry. And I’m not talking little tears running down your face and the sniffles, I am talking full on cry in a sobbing position with no control of your breathing or body.
My whole entire life my dad has been a firefighter and pretty damn good one at it. My dad has a heart of gold, and the kind you don’t forget. And when my dad watched on tv these men and women fighting for others, losing their lives, and the extreme amounts of courage and dedication they have for one another and their country is just phenomenal. In these moments I know he was proud to be apart of fire, I truly believe he was born and destined to do what he did everyday in the fire community. He was a legend, and will continue to be one well after he has retired.
For me, Sept 11 hits home. I can relate to the little girls out there who’s daddy is a firefighter, because my dad has been one my entire life. And I begin to think about how they must have felt, how incredibly proud they must have been to know their OWN dad was out there fighting for the lives of others. To help and serve for their country. To do what they do best, to fight fires. And then I think about how they must have felt when they lost their own dad’s, the ones doing these incredible acts of bravery and STILL how truly proud they must be to know how much a difference their dad have made in those very moments. Some of us leave our marks in life, and I can truly say the firefighters on Sept 11 made a mark on not only the lives of others, their fellow firefighters, their friends and family, and mine.
God Bless America