I just watched the 102 Minutes that Changed America and, to tell you the truth, I am a little numb. It's as if the shock and horror of 9/11 has only deeply impacted me now. Somehow only now I am old enough to understand all the horrific events that occurred this day ten years ago.
I was a mere first grader in elementary school when it happened. Most of my worries consisted of getting along with classmates and completing the inane assignments. And when I was home, I rarely watched TV and even more rarely watched the news. Thus, no live images of the disaster have been imprinted on my mind. I was not deeply traumatized. Only after the fact did I ever learn about the absolute terror that ensued and what its implications were.
Fast-forward a year to when I'm sitting in my third grade class. (I skipped second grade.) My teacher had gathered us around a map hanging on the wall. She calmly points to a small country between Europe and Asia and says, "This is Iraq. We are at war here now." With this conflict so far away, I honestly thought little about it. And frankly, I didn't know why I even should.
For the remainder of my elementary school days, I focused more on myself. The biggest events that impacted me were hurricanes, especially Katrina. I recall for a couple of weeks we had a new student from Louisiana join our class. She talked about how she had to move because her neighborhood and whole entire city was flooded. She left our school before the year was out and we never kept in touch.
But the point is, I thought little about 9/11. Sure, as I started reading the paper more and comprehending national and global politics, the bigger picture became clearer. I began realizing exactly why it was a big deal.
During 7th grade, I participated in a model United Nations conference at my school. I represented Libya of all countries. My basis for choosing such a place wasn't because I was that interested, but because the flag was all green and thus would be no trouble sewing. (At least at that point. I believe it has since changed.) I'm glad I chose it though, since for the project as a whole, I conducted plenty of research into the nation. This meant I learned about Qaddafi and the country's politics. I started seeing more parallels between history and modern day, as seriously frightening as it was.
But I still thought little about 9/11. It was always about what was done to somehow avenge the tragedy: the war on terrorism.
All this reflection, though important, does not change what happened. This ten year anniversary can only honor those heroic citizens, fireman and policemen that responded in a time of utter uncertainty and crisis. More importantly, we can honor those loved ones and friends that died in the attacks. They're gone, yet not forgotten.
As a citizen of the United States, I wanted a way to pay my respects and this is it. I urge you to please take a moment of silence after reading this post to remember those affected.