Thursday, September 11, 2014

13 Years Later

I am nearly positive that I have posted something of the same nature before, so I do apologize that I am too lazy to look for my past post and just link it here. 

Today marks the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. I was was only 9 years old. A fourth grader at Boulton Elementary in Bountiful Utah. I was in Mrs. Rices' class, and wore dresses to school practically every single day. I was quiet, and reserved, but not a good student. In fact I didn't horribly in elementary school, and turned in the majority of my assignments late or not at all.

My first memory of the attacks was in my Daddy's 1998 silver Honda Accord on the way to school. I don't know if my Daddy had heard about them before we left, but I'm fairly positive that he heard about it on the radio. He used to always listen to NPR even when he drove us to school, and with my young age and short attention span I could not have cared less about the "old people" chattering on the radio. I remember we were driving down North Canyon Road, toward Orchard drive (where we would turn left and approach Boulton) when we were driving past Davis Blvd, I remember my Dad turning up the radio. I remember the sense of confusion in the car. I could tell something important had happened. I don't remember if I asked my Dad, or if I started to tell me about it. But I didn't understand fully what was the big deal. I remember my dad saying "oh, they are definitely going to talk about this in your classes today." To which I responded "no. They really aren't. They don't talk about anything in the news." And then I proceeded to go into some conversation with myself about how awful my teachers were. 

That day is a haze, partially because I was so young and mostly because I just couldn't comprehend that kind of evil in the world. Not at that age. I remember we watched a lot of TV that day. My teacher would constantly be "checking up" on what was going on. I remember almost a frenzied feeling. 

As I was standing in the lunch line, not quite in the cafeteria yet, there were some 5th and 6th graders (oh so old to my little 4th grade self) talking about what had happened. They were saying that before they had left to school they didn't know about it, but that the attacks happened at like 9:00. (8:46 Mountain Time to be precise.) I stood quietly until one of my friends asked me when I heard about it, and I relayed my car story. I remember telling my friend "I told my Daddy that we wouldn't talk about it, because we never talk about anything but we are talking about it! That's all today has been--talking about it!"

The next thing I remember is being at home, that evening. It was dark outside, and past my bedtime. It was cool staying up even just a little past my bedtime. My parents gathered me and my brother and possibly my sister around our little kitchen table. My dad brought in a couple of candles and they both started to talk to us about what had happened. I don't recall exactly what they said, but you can imagine what a loving parent would say to their 9 and 6 year old kids... My dad then brought over a couple of candles and matches. He proceeded to light them, which was weird to me. "What was going on?" I thought. My Mom and Dad then continued  to tell us that we were safe, but lighting the candles was a symbol of our love for those who had died that day. I remember the flickering flames of those candles against the darkness outside the windows. 

I lay worried in my bed that night. I had been told about Osama Bin Laden, and possibly seen pictures. I just remember the image of an old, middle-eastern, long bearded man haunted me that evening. Was he going to attack me? What was going to happen? The fear finally set in. 

I remember in coming months I would day dream about capturing this "evil old man." I didn't quite understand that there were others like him. I would imagine in my head President Bush approaching me and asking me to give my life in order to capture Bin Laden. There were always different scenarios, but every time I chose to give my life to capture him. (I was a weird child, eh?) 

It's hard to believe how fast I've grown, and that the war in the middle east has been going on so long, but it is important that we as a society remember those feelings. The feelings of dread, and fear, and patriotism, that we felt that day in 2001. We need to come together, to help globally in the fight against hate and terror. It will never end, but we as individuals can make a difference and an impact-no matter how small. 

My mother posted this video on her facebook today, and I find it touching. The power of music is so amazing to me, and this particular piece was orchestrated in England just 4 days after the attacks.

God bless America. God bless this world. God bless those who bring goodness into it. And pray for those who don't. Pray for a change of heart. 

I would love to read your stories as well, please feel free to comment! (Or just do your own blog post!!)


  1. I love what your parents did with the candles! What a sweet memory for you, and a beautiful way to show respect for the lives lost. My memories of that day are similar to yours. I remember waking up to FM 100 on the radio and hearing something about a plane and a building, but it wasn't until I got to school and my 5th grade teacher turned on the news that I realized what was actually going on. Then I was really worried about Salt Lake City being a target and learned not to say words like "bomb" in public places because of the security threat. Then we couldn't go to the gate at the airport to pick my brother up from his mission like we did when we dropped him off. I slowly started to realize that what had happened that morning changed everyone's lives in one way or another. I just hope that we can keep our country safe with the current threats that we're facing. Why can't people just love each other?!

    1. Heather! Thank you so much for your thoughts! It's such a sad world we live in, but I do feel like we hear a lot of the evil stuff and not as much of the good stuff! I know that there are more wonderful people out there than evil, but it's hard to believe sometimes when all we hear about is terror and chaos.