Honestly, every time something comes on the news about September 11th, I’ve changed the channel. As the 10 year anniversary approaches, this is getting harder to avoid. I am very blessed that I was not directly affected by the tragedy – however the haunting images and the heartbreaking stories of others pain is so hard to watch.
September 11th is this generation’s “where were you when Kennedy was shot?”. Every knows, vividly, what they were doing.
I was asleep on the Alpha Phi sleeping porch. It was sometime after 6am and the plane had hit the pentagon. Two older girls in the house came in to wake up a girl from my pledge class. Her sister, who was an alumna of A Phi and had graduated the year before, was living in DC. Her parents were calling and they couldn’t get a hold of her and so they started calling the cell phone of my friend, the sorority house, any friend that would answer their phone to go find and wake up my pledge sister.
I rounded the corner from the porch to my room, I heard my phone ringing. It was my mom telling me to turn on the TV. I stood, silently holding the phone with my mom silent on the other end, watching. Friends started piling in my 6 foot by 6 foot room to watch. I remember asking my mom “What do we do? Should I go to class? Should I come home?” and my mom, who always has the most level head of anyone I know and an answer for any question, was speechless.
Thankfully, the alumna and sister of my friend was found. She was safe and had been a good distance from the disaster and was home safe. I decided I couldn’t watch any more horrible news stories and the school had not canceled classes. I had one of the meanest math teachers going so I assumed she would be taking attendance. She didn’t disappoint. She gave a heartless speech about life going on and then gave a lecture where not one person took even one note. F16 fighter jets patrolled the skies. The deafening fly overs seemed to happen every 5 minutes.
I headed home that weekend. I needed the safety of my family and my home. When we went to church that Sunday, the closing song was an acapella version of “God Bless America”. The cantor was the only one singing because there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. There was complete silence when the song ended. I remember that the song didn’t bring comfort, rather it seemed to be more of a question. The silence was eerie and the sorrow and uncertainty of what life had now become, was palpable.
I am very much looking forward to Monday (for once). I am ready for the sadness of the memories this weekend has brought to be put to rest until next year. But I think it’s important to note that everyday we are proud to be Americans. Proud to say that the heroes of that day are our countrymen. And that “God Bless America” is no longer the question that it was that day.