I was 14 years old, a high school freshman at Auburn High School. I was my second hour World History class with Sandy Kliendienst when Allen Okerlander came to the door and whispered something in her ear. That’s how I found out about the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Matt Cascio was the one who broke the news that the Twin Towers had collapsed.
The other big thing I remember about that day was the televisions in the commons, they where all turned to FOX or CNN or something like that and there were students standing around as though mesmerized by the sights of the plumes of smoke rising from the dust of Ground Zero or the hole of the Pentagon. I’ve never seen anything like it since.
That was when I started caring about the news, it wasn’t just far off stories that had no relation to me. Something inside of me broke open that day. 9-11 left no American untouched. For the few briefest moments, America was unified under the banner of simply being an American…there was something beautiful about it. We weren’t Republicans or Democrats, just Americans in a state of utter shock that we had experienced something, painfully clear to much of the rest of the world.
I’m saddened for the thousands of people who died, the children who will never know their mothers and fathers and vice versa of course. However, I’m sadder that we seem to have forgotten the greatest takeaway of that September day…togetherness.
Don’t we understand, if we continue to remain divided, the terrorists have won?