For my first blog post I thought it would only be right for it to be dedicated to September 11th (especially since my professor asked us to have these blogs ready by today, it worked out quite well). But I didn’t want to do a post that just spoke solely about my experience on this fateful day 10 years ago, but about how its difficult to answer this question…have we moved on yet?
Every morning, 5th grade through high school, my mom and I took the J train together. She would always come home complaining about how her feet hurt and that she should start wearing more comfortable shoes to work instead of her favorite pair of stilettos. On this particular day, Tuesday September 11th, I reminded her as we walked to the train station, “Mom don’t you think you should wear some sneakers today, you’re always complaining about how your feet bother you?” Her response: “No, I’ll be fine. Let’s just hurry and catch this train.”
It was still early in the morning and most of the class was still struggling to stay awake as we learned about the days biology lesson. At the ripe age of 11 years old, I was the star student always sitting in the front row and had an answer to any question proposed by my teacher, a habit I should all to well still practice. But this day things were different…I was lost in class.
Around 8:45 a.m. my home room teacher ran into our class yelling and screaming that, “they blew up the World Trade Center!” I had no idea why she was so distraught because at this age my morning train being delayed was equivalent to the world ending. So these attacks had no impact on me just yet.
She continued to yell and say that we might have to evacuate the school because the news is saying this might be a possible terrorist attack. Again, I had no idea what any of this meant and was so aloof to this entire situation.
My lab partner turned to me and said, “Jasmine, I don’t want to die.”
The entire school was frantic. At around 10 a.m. my father came to pick me up and took me home. I knew my mom worked in Manhattan but I was unsure of where and if she was anywhere near the site. I was finally able to reach her by phone and she said to not be worried, watch the news and stock up on water. I wouldn’t speak to her until she got home later that evening.
When I arrived home I turned on the news and saw the horrible scenes that we now equate to the attacks, people jumping out of windows, soot covered faces, running mobs and of course the buildings on fire as if God himself took a chunk out of each. I knew from that day on what the ugly face of terrorism was. My mom came home that night covered in the ash from the fallen debris and her feet swollen beyond measure after walking home from Midtown, across the Brooklyn Bridge, in her favorite pair of stilettos. I knew now that this was reality and that life would never be the same again.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love being a New Yorker. From the $1 pizza spots, the fish ridden smell of the South Street Seaport to the beautiful skyline along the Brooklyn Promenade on a warm summer night. Nothing or no one can take away the joy I feel when I’m home, in my city. But September 11th changed that for me. After the attacks I grew up in a world that thrived in fear. The words “terrorism” and “Al-Qaeda” were now apart of my childhood and there was nothing I could do to get rid of it. It was scary knowing that the city I cherish and love was attacked in such a way that left me feeling hopeless, afraid and scared to live a life of brevity. So 10 years later is it okay that I still feel this way?
My goal for this post isn’t to answer my initial question but to garner any feedback from those who agree or disagree. Being a product of 9/11 has changed my life in many ways and in some I will probably never know. Having your peace of mind disrupted is hard to regain but has there been enough done for me to ever feel safe again?
I guess only time will tell.