I didn’t expect to actually write anything for the 10 year anniversary of the September 11th attacks, but after waking up this morning and turning on the television, it occurred to me that it was indeed the day today, and that it had been some time since I had truly reflected on it.
I live in Indiana, and while I know some New Yorkers now, I only knew one in 2001. Like a lot of people, I was left feeling helpless and confused on that day. I worked at a comic store in Indianapolis at the time. I opened the store at 10 AM, and like most mornings, woke up at 9:00, showered, jumped in my car, and drove straight there, listening to something on CD. I didn’t listen to the radio, then either, or I am sure I would have heard about the planes hitting the towers. So I drove to work that day like any other, completely oblivious. I arrived at the store and turned on the small television on the counter. This was the only store with a TV, and for some reason I felt like watching it. I flipped through the channels a few times, and was a bit confused about what I was seeing. At first I thought I caught some mid morning Die Hard knock off, and that I was only getting one channel. Once I realized what was happening I was on the phone with my mom, and trying to make sense of everything.
While I had spent plenty of time cavorting with the counter culture, I had remained fairly apathetic toward current events, politics, and the world in general. I didn’t know who was responsible for the attack, or why it was happening. Honestly, I didn’t even know who Osama Bin Laden was, save a face on a most wanted poster that had been hanging on the wall where I worked while at Ball State University.
I spent most of the day sitting on the curb. No one came in that day to buy comics. I sat there and watched as cars lined up to buy gasoline and wondered if there would be a draft for this war the media was talking about. I spent the day alone, finishing out my shift, then returned home to my friends where we all sat stunned as the only person I knew from New York called everyone he knew from the other room.
A decade later, as I watched the memorial and caught the occasional Facebook update, I attempted to explain to my son what had happened ten years ago. He seemed to understand on the surface, but in a manner that appeared to be like my memories of history lessons. I felt thankful that I am able to tell my son about this, that he and his brother have a full family to protect him and love him. He will grow up knowing the importance of acceptance, remembrance, and the strength people have to carry on and persevere.
I can’t imagine what some people lost that day, but today I remembered what I have.