Nine years ago, I was a sophomore. I went to school and walked to the band room, avoiding teachers so I wouldn’t be sent to the cafeteria to wait for the bell like everybody else. I went to my first class. I don’t even remember what it was. There was a 10 minute break. I hung out with my friends in the lockers. I went to Mr. Justis’s French class.
The first thing I remember about walking into class was that the TV was on. Justis never had the TV on. I sat down in my seat (third row from the door, two seats back) and just stared at what was on. I immediately recognized that it was one of the World Trade Centers, and it was on fire. The news people were talking about two planes hitting both towers. I couldn’t comprehend it. It was like my mind couldn’t process what I was hearing because I had no experience like this to be able to relate to.
I remember hearing about the Pentagon, and simultaneously thinking about a cousin who was working there at the time. No one in the family knew that he had been transferred just days before to the Patent office across the road.
I can’t remember what happened after that. I don’t know what class I had moved to by the time my Mom came for me. My papaw wanted his family home, with him. God only knows what was running through his mind. He was around for WWII. He knew what kind of a threat our nation was facing.
I do remember sitting in my papaw’s house, on the loveseat, wondering what was going to happen next. I sat beside Brandi, not touching her, because I didn’t know how to process all this information, much less how to be affectionate to my terrified little cousin. My aunts cried. My uncles were silent. I was in shock.
I had no idea that in six years, my best friend would be in Iraq fighting terrorists. That nine years later, we would still be defending out country and going after these people.
I’m proud of my country. I’m proud of our military and their endless, tireless work they’re doing. I’m proud of our civil servants… the firemen, the policemen. Thank God I was born here, and that I was alive to see all this.