Future students will only see 9/11 as history
Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 20:09
We are most likely reaching the point where most of the students coming to ETSU will no longer have a memory of 9/11 simply because they are too young. This point will probably come quickly, within the next three years I’ll say.
I know this because on the morning of Sept. 11, 2005, when I was 13 years old, I was riding the bus to school with my 11-year-old sister and our friend, who was also my sister’s age.
Another friend who was my age was discussing memories of that day.
Out of curiosity, I asked my sister, “Do you remember anything about 9/11?” She sat there for a few seconds thinking and then responded with, “I think it had something to do with Vietnam.”
I laughed, because I had gotten my answer — obviously, she was too young to remember that day. I then asked our friend who was my sister’s age the same question. She gave me a blank look, thought for a few seconds, then said, “No …?”
I, however, was just barely beyond the point of being too young to remember. I was 9 years old that day.
People who were in school at the time would always tell me the same thing. The teachers early that morning scrambled to turn on the televisions, and they thought they had been watching a movie. The adults had been just as clueless as the events unfolded live.
But the teacher that my classmates and I had did nothing of the sort.
We learned whatever it was we needed to learn in the classroom that day, and she carried on as if it were any other day. I don’t know if my teacher herself knew what was going on, but if she did, she made the right decision by not showing us.
So I did not learn of what happened that morning until I came home from school.
It was dinnertime, and like every day before and every day after, my family and I would sit around the living room, eat our dinner and watch the news.
I would never pay attention, of course, because the news was boring to me at that age. I’d be more focused on pretending to eat the peas on my plate, and just anxiously awaited a new episode of “The Simpsons” after the news was over.
But that time it was different. Usually, my parents and older brother would talk during the news, but for that evening they were silent and focused on it much more than usual.
I became more focused as well. What I saw scared me, though I didn’t really understand what was going on. I couldn’t get any of the “adult” vocabulary, describing what was happening.
I could process what I had seen, though.
It unknowingly affected me to watch people fall from the towers — stories and stories off the ground, flailing their arms and legs like they were trying to fly.
Some would end up spinning in slow circles as they fell. This memory makes me choke up to this day.
But the worst of all, the worst thing was when Tom Brokaw cried at the end of the broadcast. I had never seen a newsman cry, and his tears caused me to cry too.
“This is real,” I thought, “thisisrealthisisrealthisisreal!”