9/11 and the Progression of Remembrance

Silence sweeps a nation as we pause from our daily routines to reflect, but more importantly remember, the horrific events that took place on September 11th, 2001.

15 years ago today our country experienced the real meaning of having your freedom challenged. Our country came together as a whole, but yet was broken into pieces.

This year marks the first year freshmen in high school will learn about the 9/11 attacks as a history lesson in school because they were not yet born when the attacks occurred. It is so interesting to know our stages of understanding vary from not yet born to hearing it on the radio on your way to work. Those who were alive to recall the events that took place are able to remember it briefly or quite vividly.

I was just a young 6-year-old with a fragile, blank stare. We were celebrating my best friend’s birthday in our first grade classroom when the mood shifted completely. I had never been so confused. We went from smiling faces and stuffing our faces with cupcakes to silently sitting around a TV another teacher had quickly rolled into the classroom. The teachers were crying, so we felt we needed to cry as well. As I reflect on my story today, I now understand why we cried. Our country crumbled before us and we felt the pain of those fighting for their lives, and the lives of others, at what is now called Ground Zero.

Our stories and how we remember are what define the events of that day. Everyone remembers it differently, and listening to these stories only lets us better understand the severity of that day.

 

“When 9/11 happened I was in kindergarten and I remember being sent home really early. I remember watching it on TV with my mom (even though I wasn't supposed to) and my mom was crying and calling my dad to see if he was watching it as well at the time.”

- Kasey, Apple Valley, MN

“My birthday is the day after 9/11. I loved fire trucks so for my birthday my parents organized for the fire department to pick my friends and I up to bring us to school. That was cancelled quickly after the horror of 9/11. I remember I missed the bus that day because my parents were holding us close as we all watched the news. I wasn't quite old enough to grasp what was going on, but seeing the sadness and fear in my parents’ eyes said it all.”

- Gabriella, Mahtomedi, MN

It was really bizarre because the night before I had dreams that America was under attack and that buildings were collapsing left and right, one after the next after the next. In my dream, it became clear that whoever or whatever was attacking was not going to stop until there were no buildings left standing.  

I had just returned from walking my son to kindergarten when I turned on the radio and heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  I immediately turned on the TV. It was shocking, and at the time completely unfathomable that it could have been intentional. Until the second tower was hit.

After one tower fell, and then another, and then the Pentagon… I was paralyzed with dread, feeling like buildings would keep falling until nothing was left standing in the entire country. I wanted to run back to my son’s school and bring him home so I could hug him.

Before 9/11, I was familiar with the term terrorism but I didn’t understand it until that day. There really is no better way to describe it. It was utterly terrifying – I will never forget seeing live, human beings fall from the sky. It’s forever changed my sense of safety, and altered my sense of humanity. Witnessing the acts of terror alongside the acts of heroism, it was impossible to believe that both were committed by members of the same species.”

- Mollee, Winona, MN

Take the time today to remember. Remember who was next to you, remember who told you and never forget those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for the lives of others. Never forget 9/11.