Friday, September 10, 2021

Never Forget

Tomorrow marks the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It is really hard to wrap your mind around that. How have 20 years passed since that horrifying day? In some ways, it feels like a lifetime ago because my life looks so different from then. But it still doesn't seem possible that 20 years have passed. 

I'll never forget that day. I was a junior in college and was living in our sorority house. I was downstairs getting breakfast when a friend turned on the NBC morning show and exclaimed that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. It was hard to wrap our minds around what was happening. 

I remember being glued to the news coverage that day. I remember the helpless feeling of wanting to do something but not knowing what to do. A good friend and I ended up going to donate blood because it felt like the only thing that we could do to help. The blood bank had told us they were very busy so others clearly had the same idea. 

In the weeks that followed, what I remember was the sense of a unified country. There were yellow ribbons tied around trees on campus. Perhaps due to my youth, I have a na├»ve interpretation of this time, but it felt like a non-partisan world. We were not democrats or republicans or independents. We were Americans, uniting to console the citizens of a country that was forever changed. 

As we approach the 20-year anniversary, I've felt drawn to consume media related to that day. Phil and I have been watching a 9/11 documentary on Netflix called "Turning Point." I listened to the NPR Politics podcast about Flight 93 called "Sacred Ground." And yesterday I started an Alan Gratz book called "Ground Zero." I don't know if it's masochistic of me to continue to relive that day through different mediums, but it feels like something I need to do to honor those that we lost. 

I had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 memorial 4 years ago. You can read about it in my NYC trip recap here. I think it was incredibly well done and very much worth a visit. I did not go into the museum given the long lines that day - that is something I would like to do in the future, though. 

9/11 will be an event that we'll have to teach our kids about at an age-appropriate time. I remember my parents sharing their "where they were" stories from the day of JFK's assassination. Our kids will grow up, remembering our 'where we were" stories from 9/11. I just hope and pray that there isn't another day in my lifetime that leaves such an indelible mark on my life. 

I have a long run of 8 miles on the calendar for tomorrow and will definitely be thinking of the many victims of 9/11 during my run. 

Where were you on 9/11? Do you feel pulled to read books and articles or watch documentaries about that day? 

5 comments:

San said...

I can't believe it's been twenty years. I had just arrived in the US for my exchange semester two days prior and it all felt very surreal to be here (although it didn't feel "personal" to me at the time as it wasn't "my country" that was attacked if that makes sense).

Grateful Kae said...

This was a beautiful post, Lisa. I feel the same way. It felt like a different lifetime back then. I so greatly miss that old, much more "non-partisan" world, too. I was in my dorm room, my freshman year of college at UW-Madison, just getting up for class when the attacks happened. My mom called me and said to turn the TV on. It is so surreal to think back on. I remember the resident's hall putting TVs on in the common rooms for kids to gather, and I'll never forget seeing a girl outside break down in hysterics....she was a student from NYC and her dad was a firefighter. Her friend was trying to hold and comfort her, but what could you say? I'll never know what happened, if her dad was okay or not. I really hope you can go back to the 9/11 museum...it is absolutely phenomenal and in my opinion, worth a special trip to NYC just to see that. Ethan read that Alan Gratz Ground Zero book last year, but I didn't. I would like to though. We own most of the Alan Gratz books, so I should make a point to read it soon.

Jeanie said...

I was watching Today Show, getting ready for work when it happened. When I got there, we didn't get anything done -- we spent all day watching the TVs in our office and those who didn't have them crowded in doorways or around master control or the lounge. That night we were hosting a group of Japanese delegates who were at the U to commemorate the end of WWII. It was so quiet outside with no planes overhead (you don't realize you hear them till you don't hear them) and one woman was very concerned about a friend of hers who worked near the towers. I listened to a lot of NPR programming this year about that. They had a wonderful special. Next door at the lake, the neighbor was trylng to explain to their seven year-old nephew what 9/11 was, what it meant. How odd. I hadn't thought of that.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

It's crazy to believe it's been 20 years. I used to watch everything on it that I could but my husband had stuff on this weekend a bit and I just couldn't. It's such evil and horribleness and I'm just in a spot right now where I can't handle it.

Stephany said...

Like everyone has said before me, it feels unfathomable that a full two decades has passed since that day. I was 13 and in 8th grade when it happened and remember hearing, in between classes, something about some towers in New York falling down but I didn't actually know what happened until I got to my 3rd period class and we watched the news. I remember being glued to the news (something I never watched!) in the weeks that passed, and like you, I remember the feeling of being united.

I told you in an email earlier today, but I find it really hard to consume media about 9/11. It feels so personal and scary, and just thinking about the people in those planes and the people waiting to find out if their loved ones were okay makes me so emotional.