Friday, September 10, 2010

Where Were You On 9/11?

September 11, 2001 always brings me back to my final year at Cohen Hillel Academy.

When the airplanes struck the Twin Towers, I was on a train with my classmates -- in New York.

I remember the conductor saying, "We have just been told that an airplane went through the Twin Towers. We don't know much now. We will keep you updated."

I remember the confusion and hysteria erupting on the train. I remember my teachers freaking out thinking, "What are we going to do with these kids?" And I remember complete strangers all around me becoming family by the minute.

In an instant, everyone was united by an attack to our nation.

It's true what the adults say, 9/11 is my generation's Pearl Harbor. To me, the date will never mean anything different than the day my world turned upside down.

Our teachers made us all pray on the train (Cohen Hillel Academy is a private Jewish day school). We prayed for our safety, for the people on the train and in the towers.

I remember the conductor forcing me and my classmates off the train, while our English teacher begged him to let us stay on. I remember all of us "schlepping" our luggage through Penn Station and then through the hectic streets of New York. I remember seeing everyones faces in complete panic and confusion.

Three teachers and 19 students raced to the nearest temple -- thinking it would give us shelter. When we found out it was a terrorist attack, the teachers raced us out and into an antique shop (the owner was a friend).

All the while, we were all glued to the TV screen, desperately trying to put together what just happened. None of it seemed like it was happening to us. It was a situation no one could fathom.

Who would do something like that? Who could do something like that?

And look at where we are today. Still fighting. Still attacking one another. Still confused.

What upsets me most about our country today, is that we are fighting each other. No one gets a long. No one waves the American flag. No one cares anymore.

But on 9/11, we are reminded to care.

I'm not innocent either: I don't speak to the majority of the my 8th grade classmates -- but on 9/11, I either send out a mass text, Facebook message or email saying, "I remember you. And if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have gotten through that day."

It's sad that it took an attack to unite us but it would be even more tragic if we didn't take a break from the bitching, fighting and politics and reflect on the day that united us.

How We Stood United After September 11th


1 comment:

  1. This horrific video was just released today. I encourage everyone to see it, however, it is extremely hard to watch. We should never forget the tragic lives lost & the heroic firefighters, police officers & civilians who lived:

    NYPD Helicopter Video of 9/11