Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget...

7 years ago today, back when I was only 12 years old, the world suddenly turned upside down. 9/11 was one of those events that change your whole viewpoint, reality bangs on your door & you realize that life probably won't be the same as it used to. For a 12 year old like I was, it's that step from the carefree life of childhood to the harsh, responsibility-ridden reality of adulthood. Everything before now seems unimportant. Who remembers Sept. 10th? 9/11 affected so much & so many, especially those who only live a hop, skip & a jump away from Manhattan. It's still a very vivid memory.

School just started & we all had the back-to-school blues. It was the 2nd period of the day, & I was in Social Studies class. About halfway through the class, one of my teachers ran in telling us that a plane flew into the Twin Towers. The TV was turned on & we watched in complete disbelief. My first thought was " Oh God...kamikazes are attacking the Twin Towers!". After the period was over, many of us gathered in the cafeteria to find out from others what was going on.

We were glued to the televisions that day. To the teachers it was somewhat clear on what was going on, but the rest of us were clueless. The big questions were "Who" & "Why?". Most of us didn't know who or what Al-Qaeda was, or what this Osama bin Laden guy was. It seemed like we were in the dark. Little bits of news snuck out every so often:

"Hey did you hear?... they hit the Pentagon too!"

They were bombing all over the place! What could be the next target? The White House? The Statue of Liberty? Disneyland? Where?! The TV's were blasting, people were talking over them, some were crying, some were calling home, some were praying. So much chaos & confusion. Then everything went dead as the first tower began to fall...

In an instant, people lost brothers, sisters, moms, dads, cousins, uncles, aunts & friends. I remember one kid's face turning almost completely white. I stood there watching in disbelief. To me, watching that first tower fall was completely mindblowing. Seeing this catastrophic meltdown live on TV.... seeing that enormous skyscraper shown on the TV the size of a stack of Legos falling over... "...if it's completely chaotic here 30 miles away, what could it possibly be like for them right there in the middle of it all?" The scale & scope of it all was completely shocking to me. I thought "Please, just let the other one stand... don't fall, don't fall...." Then it did. Two iconic symbols.... gone. We saw all the janitors gathered on the roof. They could see the smoke from the rooftop.

Were were all sent home right after. The TV's at home must've been on for 2 days straight after that. Then watching all those months of cleanup afterwards... it was a life-altering experience for all of us. Some of my sister's friends lost someone that day. Although I personally didn't lose anyone close to me that day, it felt like I did. Could any good come out of all of this?

Besides the paranoia, we all felt a bit closer. We came together & chipped in to help. Hell, some of us even liked Bush for a few minutes. People became kinder, helpful & sympathetic souls... at least for a little while.

A few weeks after 9/11, there still was some grief & gloom hanging in the air. During class one day, I began to doodle in my notebook to keep my mind off. One of those doodles was this little chicken in a straight-jacket. To this day, part of me thinks that Cannibal Chicken was born out of 9/11.

So remember to say "I Love You" to the ones you care about each day, 'cause you don't know what may happen that day. & to never forget....

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