Carrie Circosta, Editor in Chief, shares her memories of September 11, 2001 in remembrance of those lost and where we stand 17-years later.
On the day of September 11, 2001 I was sitting in English class watching a movie about MacBeth, one of the notable plays written by William Shakespeare. I was a junior in high school, trying to keep my eyes open like any other morning. Another teacher entered the room, whispered something to my English teacher who was sitting at her desk. She immediately stood up, turned off the MacBeth movie and switched to the news.
That was when the first time I saw smoke smoldering from the World Trade Center in New York City.
“This is unbelievable,” my teacher kept repeating.
At first it was hard for me to grasp what I was seeing. The last time the United States had any type of attack on its soil was the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1941. The last type of warfare on the mainland was during the Civil War from 1861-1865. An attack? I’ve only read about them in history books and theatrical Hollywood movies.
Then people started jumping.
The bell in the high school rang. We switched classes, shuffling like zombies, whispering to our classmates in the hallways.
“Did you hear?”
Then one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center crumbled. Wait, there are more planes? One crashed in Pennsylvania? The bell rang again.
On that day, nearly 3,000 lives were lost. Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger airplanes. Two of them crashed into the World Trade Center towers. One plane crashed into the Pentagon. The last one, suspected of heading to Washington, D.C., crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after the passengers tried to take the plane back from the hijackers.
I visited New York City back in 2011 and stayed in a hotel that overlooked Ground Zero. It was eerie and unimaginable to think of what it was truly like that day. I was in a high school in Ohio, while at that very spot so many innocent lives were lost.
Now, even 17 years later, I think many people are still trying to process what happened that day.
The other night I watched a story on the news about the nearly-completed memorial for those who perished near Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11. A 90-foot tower with 40 chimes, one chime representing the voice of each person who died while trying to regain control of the plane from the hijackers.
My heart and eyes swelled with grief. After all this time, I still get choked up.
We all remember where we were that day when the September 11 attacks happened. Each year there are so many innocent lives lost and there are never any substantial answers as to why. Or the reasons given just aren’t good enough. Would any reason be good enough?
It’s important to remember not only on today, but always, the innocent lives lost during conflict. It’s important to note, even though we won’t all agree on certain things, that life is so fragile and too short. There is no disagreement so grand that those must make the ultimate sacrifice. One must put aside selfish, political agendas. One must reciprocate promises and relationships. At the end of the day, we must remember those who may suffer by the decisions made, not just those who benefit.
I hope International Student Voice Magazine can serve as an advocate for all of you, while you’re studying in the United States and also if/when you return home. Only when we stand together–educate each other, take the steps to understand each other, and support each other, we can ultimately save lives.
Editor in Chief
International Student Voice Magazine