BY VALENTINA CAVAL
The voice of my fourth grade teacher always caught my attention. On this Tuesday morning something about her screechy voice did not seem quite right.
She oddly ignored the few trouble markers snickering in the background as she addressed our attention. Ms. Gallagher’s voice quivered as she spoke, “Good morning class, I have an announcement to make,” she stated. She continued on to tell us that there had been a horrible attack in the city.
We were located in Middle Village, Queens, New York with the city being about a twenty minute commute.
Being only nine years old I was not sure what to think. Moments later Ms. Gallagher called my name informing me that my dad was here to take me home. I asked my dad about the commotion occurring in the city.
He responded with vague answers and reassured me everything would be alright.
We arrived home and I quickly pranced on the couch ready to watch some of my favorite afternoon shows. I was disappointed to see that all the TV channels were focused on the two burning buildings I had already seen.
At that moment as I wondered what the fuss was about assuming the fires could easily be put out ; then the most astounding thing happened. At 9:59 AM on September 11th, 2001 my eyes were glued to the television as I watched the first building collapse at only 9 years old. I sat there in disbelief suddenly feeling selfish for not understanding the terror at hand. At 10:28 AM I watched the second building collapse and it sent shivers down my spine.
September 11th, 2001 was a truly iniquitous event of our time.
What happened next is vague to my own eyes. My dad remembers it as if it just happened yesterday. “The most fascinating thing was what happened after September 11th. Everyone was willing to come to aid one another,” he proclaimed with pride held in his eyes.
My dad spoke of the impressive patriotism all Americans showed during this time period that I was once too young to understand. He told me how thousands of Americans stood together, displaying banners stars and stripes, and holding up candles for the memory of the deceased—uniting as a nation the only way we knew how.
Stores took their part in hanging up their flags, and displaying stars and stripes as decor in their windows. The act of patriotism spread like wildfire; it portrayed the American way of healing.
I was only nine years old, there was a lot in the world that I could not understand. After September 11th, I stopped riding the New York City trains. I formed an irrational fear that this could happen again and I would somehow get stuck inside the train with no way out. Twelve years have passed and I have yet to ride a train.
Email Valentina at: