Sunday, September 11, 2011
Remembering Ten Years Ago
It’s unreal that it’s been so long. It still seems unreal that it ever happened in the first place. I think that might actually be the best word to sum it all up – unreal. I remember my mom saying that the morning of Sept. 11 either she or Amber had been flipping through the channels on the TV before I woke up and had passed over the footage of the twin towers because they thought it was a movie. It just wasn’t something that could even be considered real. But it was real.
I think everyone has a story, and when you start thinking about that day you just naturally feel a need to share the way you experienced it. Because even though not everyone was there, it still had an impact on everyone.
My first sign that something was different was when I came down the stairs to go to school. I was 12 years old, and I was getting ready to go to Five Oaks Middle School. It was actually going to be an exciting day for me – before school I was finally getting my first pair of contacts. But when I woke up and went down to breakfast the news was on, which was unusual for my house in the morning, and the most terrible footage was playing. It was unreal. The day still went on, but it seemed somehow tainted. It was a beautiful September day, and the sky was the most perfect shade of blue. But the fact that everything looked so perfect when everything was so wrong seemed somehow cruel. The beautiful potential of that fall day had been shattered, marred by a much more horrific reality. I still went and got my contacts. I watched the news in the waiting room at the Kaiser optometrist. I watched the news at school, on a TV set up on a rolling cart in the library. I watched the news when I got home. Partially because I’ve always been a news addict, but I think we were all glued to the news. Because if this could happen, what would happen next? What would the next days, weeks and months hold?
And things changed, but they stayed the same. What did Sept. 11 really mean? I went to a Smithsonian exhibit this week where at the end they asked visitors to write down how Sept. 11 changed their lives. I think that’s something we’re still trying to figure out. Maybe we don’t think about it explicitly every day anymore, but the consequences and implications of what happened are still playing out.
The picture above is one I took last year of a 31-foot piece of the broadcast antenna from the North Tower, as on display at the Newseum. Below are some pictures I took this week at the American History Museum. They had an intimate showing of some artifacts from the day, and since most of you aren’t here to see it I thought I would share the experience with you as best I could.
Pieces of Flight 93 recovered from the field in Pennsylvania
A crushed door from one of the first fire trucks to arrive
A clock that stopped when the Pentagon was hit
A piece of one of the planes that hit the Twin Towers
Also, here’s a link to President Monson’s guest blog for the Washington Post on 9/11 and spirituality. I think today is a fitting day for some reflection.