What are my memories of ten years ago today and its aftermath?
I remember sitting in AP US History watching things unfold. I didn’t see the second plane hit, that I can remember.
I remember my friend being too shy to ask, so I did, what the Pentagon is for when we heard about the plane hitting it.
I remember the silence when Mr. Ward told us the significance of the Pentagon.
I remember the TVs being on much of that day until the principal came over the loudspeaker asking teachers to resume their normal classes and please turn off the televisions.
I remember feeling safe and vulnerable all at once, tucked away in my little classrooms in Sandy, UT, hundreds of miles away from where the planes went down.
I remember still daydreaming of this being the year I’d get asked to homecoming instead of sitting at home on a Saturday night because I wasn’t invited to the boys’ choice dance.
I remember the opening ceremony of the 2002 Olympics here in Salt Lake City. I watched from home and marveled at the silence in the stadium when President Bush entered.
I remember the silence in the stadium when the flag came out.
I remember an assembly in my high school when, for the first time, there was absolute silence and devotion during the singing of our national anthem. No cheers, no applause to deafen the final words as the singer built to the crescendo of those last notes of the verse.
I remember a friend singing Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American” and listening in awe as he made it through without a single tear shed or voice-cracked note.
I remember the next June in Washington, D.C., seeing the lighter stone of the Pentagon wall being rebuilt following that day. There may have been scaffolding but I can’t remember.
I remember being on the National Mall seeing a poster of newspaper front pages with the images of that day from nations around the world.
One word stands out. I won’t print it here but it’s always there, burned in my mind above the image of the towers on fire, smoke billowing from their wounds, before they succumbed to the weight they could no longer support.
It was that June it became somewhat more real to me, seeing some of the aftermath and clean up.
I remember the next June, over a year and a half since that day, being in New York.
I remember getting on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and seeing a plaque commemorating that vessel’s role in the day’s events.
I remember the eternal flame lit in Battery Park in remembrance of that day and those who lost their lives far too soon.
I remember going into Madame Tussaud’s and seeing, in a room all by itself, a life-size wax replica of the three firefighters raising an American flag over the rubble.
I remember going to Ground Zero, seeing the fence protecting innocents from falling into the scar left behind.
I remember seeing the buildings surrounding Ground Zero, but I don’t remember seeing broken windows or blackened facades. Those were gone or not registered in my head.