Don’t Worry. We Won’t.

11 Sep

This afternoon I had a tutoring session with my 12-year-old student. Part of his homework tonight was to ask some adults in his life what they were doing when they found out about the attacks. He asked me if I remembered what I was doing.

Good Lord. For me, it’s still so fresh.

I chattered on about what I was doing that morning, what street I was on as I drove to work that morning, what the radio announcer’s voice sounded like, what the other people in the other cars on the road were doing. I said,

“And the streets were all packed with so many cars! It was total chaos! People didn’t know what to do!”

“Why?” he asked me, his brown eyes wide with curiosity.

And then it hit me.

He doesn’t know.

Oh my God. He doesn’t know! He was only 5 years old on September 11th, 2001.

He doesn’t understand that we didn’t know what to do because we were certain that we here in Los Angeles were going to be targed for attack next. Fear gripped every American’s heart. How do I explain such devastating, widespread fear that we were saddled with in addition to the heartbreak? We mourned. Not a head was unbowed.

I was only 21 at the time, but instantaneously I age because of this revelation. You’d think my trying to relay to him about the fear that gripped our hearts that day was as antiquated as The Greatest Generation telling us about air raids during The War. Then I remembered something.

While watching History Channel documentaries with older people recounting their stories about what they were doing when they heard JFK was shot, one thing they always seem to preface their stories with is, “I remember it like it was yesterday…”

And I find myself opening my mouth and the words pushing off my tongue effortlessly, as if they were just waiting there for me to speak them:

“Oh Nicholas..! I remember it like it was yesterday…” I trail off.

We all do. And we all will, for forever.

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2 Responses to “Don’t Worry. We Won’t.”

  1. Allen 12 September 2008 at 7:31 am #

    Well, I know I can’t ever forget it. There’s a massive hole in downtown Manhattan, both in between the buildings and in the ground.

  2. LoveMeDeux 12 September 2008 at 10:23 pm #

    I know. Every single time I’m there I get a weird, eerie feeling. Ooh. I get weirded out.

    We all know why.

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