I Can't Forget

I was a junior in college.

I had recently returned from an 18-month mission to Chile.

I was working for a religious education professor.

I walked upstairs to use the lab computers. I needed Photoshop to edit pictures for a history of Scandinavian pioneers. As I walked past the main conference room, several professors stood around watching what appeared to be an incredibly violent movie.

Of course, I was incredibly confused; one of them turned to me and shouted, "Our nation is under attack!" I confess that I had to turn away quickly because the way he said it just...gave me the giggles. It still does. (Laughing is one of my unfortunate reactions to bad, tragic, scary, serious news.)

I went back downstairs and looked for everything I could online. I remember frantically trying to call my family, who lived abroad at the time, because the State Department was issuing all kinds of dire warnings to expats.

I left campus, skipped classes, and watched the news all day. Well, I watched the news for weeks. It seemed wrong to watch anything else. I remember sobbing through tributes and really not understanding the impact this event might have on me.

I'm not sure that I can identify the impact of 9/11 on me, personally. It was terrifying and, of course, it has made travel more complicated. Perhaps the impact was just a heightened awareness of the dangers in the world. Maybe it simply served to make me more in tune with those around me. I don't know.

What about you?


Amina said...

I was in class.I was a Sophomore in Boston and class was abruptly interrupted. They asked us to leave and the T was packed. Entrance was free and people were panicking. People kept saying that Boston and DC were next.

I also watched the news until I couldn't stand it anymore. Everything was so surreal....
A few weeks later, I felt so scared as I heard horror stories of random attacks on Muslims.I also saw American flags everywhere....
I still can't believe it happened.

Kim said...

I was in Germany. I wasn't able to watch news, and I remember feeling confused (which I'm sure people here felt too.) I didn't have any clue what was going on. I just knew we were no longer allowed to do street preaches or even go outside as a district.

The mission to the north had essentially been under lock and key when they realized some of the terrorists had been living there. And the things I heard from the people were both comforting and upsetting.

I got my first taste of what it might have been like here in the states last night watching the home footage. And I'll be honest, I cried for the first time last night. Being so removed over there, I guess it just didn't feel real.

Amelia Hohl said...

It was the last day of my mission in Italy. I had to take my tag off and hang out with my mom for two weeks before we could go home. I had never been to NYC before that and I had no idea what the World Trade Center was. Italians were crying and giving me their condolences, but I really didn't understand why it was so sad...until I saw a television for the first time in years and watched the towers fall. It was the most emotionally confusing day for me. I was lost in my combined joy and sorrow and confusion. When I finally made it back to the states, I had to leave for Tokyo for three months where I was far removed from it all. I remember I was sad I couldn't mourn and put a flag on my window with my fellow Americans. It became even more real to me when I moved to NYC and fully understood what the towers were. I watched raw footage of the whole thing happening from many different cameras and points of view with no narration and it was a poignant reminder of the reality of the situation that I just didn't get the first time.

One thing I was thinking is that they really did what they wanted to do to us. They started the financial downturn of our country and it really hasn't recovered at all. That's what they wanted and they got it. It's scary to think our financial stability is so weak as we have seen over the past few years that a few psychos could topple it.

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