Never Forget

In psychology, there is a phenomenon called “flashbulb memories”, which is basically an event which a society collectively remembers. Everyone can remember where they were when they heard JFK was shot. Everyone wants to share their September 11 story.

I was in the third grade, just a kid. We were going through our spelling books. We had those stupid desks where you sit on top of your cubby, and the desktop is attached to the chair/cubby, so you can only exit one way. On my right are a few rows of these desks, with a chalkboard beyond that. On my left is the teacher’s desk and large windows looking out on the parking lot, the soccer field, and the Catholic church attached to the school building.

The announcement came over the loudspeaker, a brown box attached to the wall next to the classroom door. Something about airplanes and twin towers. Like I knew what that was. The teacher wouldn’t let us watch the news, saying we were too young. We went on with school like normal. I was blissfully unaware of anything, except for the tension in the air.

You see, I lived a few miles from the international airport in my Midwest city, and a few miles from that is a first-strike zone company where my father works. But horror didn’t strike me until a few days later when I saw on the news they had rescued someone from the rubble so many days after the fact.

As far as 9/11 stories go, mine’s really not all that interesting. But I’m still a part of the community of survivors. Don’t let anyone trick you into thinking today isn’t important, doesn’t have significance, doesn’t have meaning. The world constantly tries to take away our meaning, but we can’t let that happen. Never forget. We showed our greatness and magnificence as a nation that day. Human beings may be capable of terrible evil, but we are also capable of much good.

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