I still remember that day like it was yesterday. Sitting in my 7th grade computer class, talking to my friend Jeremy. He was telling me about his favorite band, the Gorillas, and some of their lyrics, which I thought were hilarious. We were going through our computer lessons, which were all about typing so it was easy to get distracted and the whole class was abuzz with chatter. Suddenly, the phone rang and my teacher picked up the phone. Anyone who went to school knows that it can be exciting when the phone rings--it means there is a possibility that someone is going home. But the teacher's face was full of confusion and just the tiniest hint of fear. He turned his face away and hung up the phone. He immediately told us to quiet down and that we were waiting for an announcement. Suddenly, our principal came over the whole school, telling us in a nutshell what had happened. I was old enough to know that something bad had happened, but young enough not to realize what it meant. I was confused, shocked, and it just all seemed like a news story, but I couldn't see what that meant for me. I just kept thinking I'm all the way in California! Why did our teacher seem so horrified? Nothing was happening to us! We are ok! He continued to talk, but it was like he was speaking another language. I felt like I had missed something. Something terrible.
Then we had a moment of silence. I still couldn't understand why everyone was so upset. We were ok here! I looked around the room during that moment. Heads were bowed, some looked afraid, we even had some people praying. I felt numb. I didn't know what to do. The moment of silence ended and our teacher turned on the tv.
That's when I saw it.
The videos flashing across our screens. It looked like some special effects movie someone had filmed. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I didn't want to believe it was real. My mom ended up taking me home early, what I had been hoping for suddenly was so depressing. I remember spending the afternoon watching the news with Rachel on the couch while my mom was laying down. Eventually, I thought it was just too much and turned it to anything else.
It wasn't until years later that I understood what it was all really about, what it all really meant. I may have felt so safe being so far away, like it would go away and we'd all move on. But not everyone felt that way. It was the precursor to a war that affected thousands of families. It affected politics and the people would look to for years to come. People still feel the pain of a loss every year on that day, even 12 years later. However, it was the day a new America was born. One that was caring and helped each other. One that was strong and truly "home of the brave." One that was united.