I was asleep when the first plane hit. My parents woke me up, and I watched the news for about five minutes. I took a shower, and went back to watching the news. I was watching as the second plane hit. For hours, I was in denial--I simply couldn't comprehend the sheer madness of what had happened. Life almost seemed like a movie until reality sunk in at school--the reality that thousands of people had just died. I don't know what I felt then--I think I felt numb more than anything else. I felt disoriented and disconnected from the world, like Meursault in The Stranger. I later came to recognize that on that day, my life changed forever. I became a different person after witnessing such tragedy. Without religion, I previously had no way to rationalize such irrational death. I had to come up with one fast. I existentially decided that the lives of those who died had meaning, and that no-one lived without some purpose. I can't believe that that purpose is God's purpose, but I do think that everyone fulfills some purpose--that everyone affects the world while they are here. To me, that's enough to make anyone's life meaningful. To me, there wasn't simply a few buildings and planes destroyed that day--thousands of people who have changed the world lost their lives that day. That's what makes the tragedy of September 11, 2001 so meaningful.

I think that this has given me a new perspective on life. I have considered doing things to help others, rather than thinking about myself. I'd like to think that the tragedy has brought at least a small bit of meaning to my life--so at least some good could come of the needless deaths of so many.

I think about revenge, and whether we're capable of a revenge suited to America. We have to take the moral high ground, or we've got nothing at all. Lately I'm afraid we're losing what little we've got--I recently found a statistic that over 3,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan as of last December.