Today began for me just as it began for nearly everyone else: it was like any other day
I woke up, took a shower, and then came to my room and got dressed. I went back to my room, as I always do. I turned on the TV as I always do. It just turned to commercial break. I watched through the commercial, because I wanted to see a report dealing with the scam
and the McDonald's
contest. Jerks... $20 Million
. And I wanted to win that.
I eat breakfast and finish getting ready, head out to the car. As I turn it on and get ready to turn on the radio, I hear something on the station that I am tuned to. I hear the DJ
's speaking about smoke rising from the twin towers.
I didn't listen for long. But I got goosebumps. I wasn't cold. It wasn't the last time I would get goosebumps this day.
It also wasn't the first time. I get goosebumps
whenever something bad like this happens. As my teacher announced that there were gunmen at Columbine High School
, I got goosebumps. The school was 1 mile south of my home. I had seen it from my window before they built the other houses in front of me. The announcement and ensuing news coverage brought goosebumps every time I really thought about what happened. I had been to the school before, and picturing the gunmen
running in the halls gave me goosebumps everytime I thought about it.
I put in a CD
, and reflected a little bit. After a few songs, I took some time to listen to the radio a bit more.
"...I can't imagine that any American would crash a plane into the World Trade Center on purpose..."
I arrive at school and tell a friend who hasn't heard yet. And then another. It all seems very strange. It sounds like Tom Clancy
's Executive Orders
. Had anyone told me yesterday that anything like this would happen, I would say that it sounded like the plot of a bad movie. Four planes coordinated to be hijack
ed and crashed into buildings? Sounds like a bad action movie to me.
I head to my first period. The TV
is turned to a news channel
. It is grainy
, but the sound is decent. We turn it down for the morning prayer. We are asked to keep the victims in our hearts and our thoughts. How can we not? We turn the TV to a channel with a better picture (but no sound). This is the first picture that I have seen of smoke billowing out of the building. It has yet to collapse
It seems almost surreal
. It seems impossible. I learn that the Pentagon
has also been hit. It sounds even more unrealistic. I watch as the towers collapse. It is hard to see, but it is clear that they have fallen. I see video of the plane crashing into the second tower
talk about their opinions of what is in store for the country, and about what has happened. I think that most of what they say is somewhat ridiculous, but even so, what do I know? I continue with my day. I hear about the plane near Pittsburgh
. Every so often, the reality, the sheer gravity of the situation, sinks in.
In English class, my teacher talks a little bit about what has happened. He compares the hallways now to the hallways 3 1/2 years before after Columbine
. Then, people barely talked. Now, some joke, though some are clearly very affected. He says that it is nearly impossible to deal with something like this. We each have our own ways. He tells us (predictably) that he deals using literature
. (I notice that many others deal by telling jokes. To each his own). We read from Archibald MacLeish
's Pulitzer Prize
. The ideas of the three comforters
, and Zophar
) are just that, quite comforting. I move to my final period. Another period where we discuss what has happened, and its implications. I still feel that the ideas of others seem somewhat ridiculous. But still, I have nothing better. I recognize the great symbolism in attacking the World Trade Center
. No one else seems to think that this is significant. I wonder why.
We turn on the TV
and watch. We notice that World Trade Center 5 and 7 are near collapse. I didn't even know that there was anything more than the two towers. I stories of people jumping out of the towers from as many as 90 stories up. Some were holding hands. The question will later be posed by another friend as we watch, but you have to imagine what desperation would lead someone to do this. But, there is no footage of the plane crash
By the time I am halfway home, number 7 has collapsed. Forty-seven stories is nearly as tall as the tallest building that I am used to, the Republic Plaza
I arrive home, and promptly plop down to watch. After only a few minutes, I see the footage of the plane crashing into the side. From one of the angles, I can see it slam into the building, appearing to come out the other side, and then explode.
I see the pictures of the collapse, and the smoldering buildings, and the people covered in dust. The antenna tower on top of one of the towers disappears into a cloud of dust. I look at the picture of the skyline
on my wall, and see that tower stretching into the sky.
A friend comes over for a few minutes to do homework, and we watch together a little bit. We see the footage again. We see the people jump. And then there is the footage
of the person jumping out.
What would possess someone to do this? How horrible could it be? I can tell that my friend is deeply affected. She is suddenly hit with the realization of what this person is doing. It grows quiet.
My friend has to leave, and I continue to watch, although by this time I have seen everything. The screaming, the different camera angles, the dust clouds chasing after the people. The collapses. The file footage of Osama Bin Laden
. It repeats fairly regularly, but still, every so often...
The perpetrators of this act clearly felt incredible animosity for the United States. They were willing to die for their hate. As Americans, this idea scares us. We can't relate to it. The bombers have succeeded beyond their dreams. They struck fear at the heart of America. They not only killed thousands, but they destroyed a major symbol of America. When one thinks of American capitalism and wealth, one thinks of New York. And when one thinks of New York, one thinks of the skyline. A skyline that is forever changed. Maybe I still haven't realized that the towers will never be there again. The skyline that appears on the picture in my room is forever changed. Striking on American soil, at a symbol that nearly all Americans recognize, puts fear into people's hearts. I don't normally pray, but I pray tonight