Mr. Weinrich’s seventh grade classroom faced the second grade room. On Sept. 11, I remember one of my classmates walked into the room and said that a second grader in the hallway told others that a plane collided into a building in New York City. I probably scoffed and rolled my eyes (What do they know?), but I remember feeling confusion first.
Planes don’t run into buildings.
The TV was turned on to NBC’s Today Show in time for us to see the second plane hit. And to watch the towers collapse, one after the other. I couldn’t tell you anything else about that day. I think we muted the screen. Or turned it off. I remember one specific detail about the day: where my desk rested.
The nearest I can tell, that sensory memory explains my brain fumbling to decide, How do I fit into all of this, an 11-year-old Nebraska boy? As I’ve taken in the coverage surrounding the 10th anniversary I continue to feel like that same kid, grappling with the trauma that has led people to call mine the 9/11 generation.
This is the world we’ve inherited and it is a mess.
Forgive the lack of resolution, the indeterminate ending; any other conclusion would be insincere, I feel. My eyes well up uncontrollably to watch the survivors recount memories of their loved ones. I feel roiling anger that we’ve gotten ourselves into such a mess - that such senseless violence pervades our lives still.
But the national day of service fills me with a flicker of hope. That’s something.
And that’s the one thing that I choose to hold on to today, 10 years out.