Nine years ago today I was woken by a simple phone call telling me to turn on the television.
Nine years ago I could not find the remote, I remember kneeling down in front of the TV to press the power button on the front of the set. I remember that the pain in my knees when I got up hours later felt very right and was far from the worst I was experiencing.
Nine years ago I watched my television as all the news came in. When I turned it on there had been one plane that had hit one tower, I watched everything after.
Nine years ago when my phone rang I was upset at the early hour that someone would call me (I was in the mountain time zone, two hours earlier than where things were happening). I remember feeling tired as I first kneeled in front of the TV, a foot and a half from the screen. I don’t remember feeling tired again for a number of months after that. There was no space to feel tired or hungry or things like that, I had nothing left for such mundane emotions after feeling everything else.
Nine years ago today I went to classes. I took notes, I turned in parts of homework assignments that were due. I had some classes where we just talked about New York and DC and some where it wasn’t mentioned at all. I don’t remember details of those classes, aside from one moment. I recall one of my professors telling us that we will forever remember this day, that what we are doing now will forever be in our minds. The irony of course was that he said it hours after it should have been said and I remember nothing else of that class. I was a shell, I think many people were.
Nine years ago my thoughts were not in class, they were not in New Mexico, they were not learning, they were mourning, they were angry, they were in New York, they were in Washington, DC, and they were in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Of the three, I had in person only ever been to DC but my lack of personal experience of those places was not important because they are American places and I am American.
Nine years ago today I was woken by a simple phone call as just another college student. I could have been anywhere in the world. And nine years ago sometime early tomorrow morning when I finally went to sleep, the TV on to the news in the background, I was an American.
Nine years ago the world changed, my world changed, I changed.
And one year from now I know where I will be. I will be in New York, I will be in Washington, DC, and I will be in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. I am going there as a proud American and as a lover of life and of overcoming terrorism. I will make my own sort of pilgrimage and I will see those three important sites in person. I will remember a day when evil attacked, a day when America was damaged and changed, a day when average people became heroes and fought back, a day when everything changed yet remained the same, a day when our way of life was threatened but survived. I will remember nine years ago and I will cry, I am man enough to admit it and embrace it.
My first tumblr 9/11 post.
A year later I went to Somerset, Washington, and New York and they are places I know I will be on this date again in future years.
And, yes, I cried.