Where Were You?
The Medium Writing Prompt

I Remember 9/11

I remember waking up like any other day. I remember turning on CNN while I got ready for class. I remember muting the television so it didn’t wake my roommate. I remember it being a normal morning. I remember seeing smoke coming out of one of the World Trade Center towers. I remember thinking it was a fire while I brushed my teeth. I remember going to class.

I remember sitting in College Algebra and watching a few people leave talking on their cell phones. I remember thinking it was rude. I remember coming home and finding out what was really happening. I remember watching the final tower fall.

I remember sitting in my neighbors room with about ten other people glued to CNN. I remember one of them saying they knew someone on one of the planes. I remember Aaron Brown trying to make sense of what was happening. I remember yelling at my roommate for making insensitive comments. I remember him holding a football. I remember using the words “thousands of people died.” I remember him leaving.

I remember trying to call my parents and not being able to. I remember finally getting through. I remember them being worried. I remember trying not to sound scared.

I remember fighter jets flying overhead in Tallahassee. I remember the state capitol building being evacuated. I remember someone saying people were trying to kill the Bush family and Jeb was a target. I remember not knowing what to believe.

I remember reports coming from the Pentagon. I remember seeing nothing but fire and destruction. I remember CNN graphics recreating the plane crashing through all five rings. I remember the flag hanging from the rubble.

I remember the field in Pennsylvania where flight 93 crashed. I remember “Let’s Roll.” I remember thinking the people on that plane were heroes.

I remember Air Force One being escored by fighter jets. I remember Mayor Giuliani pulling New York City together as best as he could. I remember seeing every New Yorker the press could get in front of the camera telling their story. I remember people jumping out of the towers.

I remember one of my neighbors wanting to join the Army. I remember another playing somber music on his violin. I remember being numb.

I remember the aftermath and the clean up. I remember holes left in the Pentagon and in the ground of New York City. I remember trucks leaving the hole day and night filled with debris. I remember thinking it would never end.

I remember politics and conspiracy theories. I remember being angry with some of the beliefs. I remember patriotism and the Patriot Act. I remember seeing the American flag more then I had before. I remember people actually caring about one another, at least for a little while.

I remember what happened on September 11th, 2001. I remember it changed the world forever. I remember thinking this will be for me what the the moon landing was for my parents. I remember being saddened about that. I remember thinking it would be a day I never forget. I was right.

A version of this article was originally published in the Orlando Sentinel’s “New Voices” column on September 9th, 2006 for the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

Cover Photo by Wally Gobetz