Fifteen years ago, I was sitting in second grade probably learning about animals or math or something. My teacher was sitting at her desk scrolling through her computer when she suddenly got up and reached up above her to turn on our classroom tv and there popped up the news. I watched the horrors of what was happening for a little while but I didn’t really get it.
In my little world of mac n cheese, spongebob and riding my bike, I didn’t really understand what had happened or what it meant but it didn’t directly affect me. Everyone has a story of where they were at the time they heard about it and that was mine. To be honest, I don’t really remember much of it.
Then in third grade we had an assembly to honor the one year anniversary. They had speakers and slide shows and played “Proud To Be An American.” During that song, I cried. I had realized that my dad was a firefighter and that, even though New York is a far,far ways away, that could of been Chicago and it could have happened to him. I crawled over all these kids sitting in a row during our assembly and singing along with the song to ask my teacher if I could use the bathroom. She let me go and I didn’t come back to that assembly. Afterwards, I told her I got sick but felt much better now and didn’t need a nurse. I think maybe she knew.
Through the years, September 11th has sent my cousin to war multiple times. It’s the reason he’s never at Christmas or Thanksgiving.
And now, it’s the reason my boyfriend will be deployed. This is my first September 11th that I have a very intimate connection with the military and with that comes a deeper connection to this day. Because really, I had no idea back then. Boys had cooties all those years ago and were really no interest to me then. I couldn’t imagine that that day would affect me and who I would want to spend the rest of my life with.
Today will probably just be like any other day for me. I’ll go to the gym, go to work, check off as much of my to-do list as I can but in my heart there will be a bit of sadness.
I was a kid back then. I’m not a kid anymore.