A reflection on 9/11

Eleven years ago, the World Trade Centers went under an attack that we will never forget.

Micah Osler, Print News Editor

Eleven years ago today, my kindergarten class went back into the assembly hall at eleven in the morning to recite the pledge of allegiance a second time. The light was dusty in there. We were confused about why we had gathered again, but the teachers on the PA system had been speaking shakily, like we had never heard. We recited the pledge again. I wish I could say that I felt some twang of pain for the nation in my heart, but that would be a lie. I felt boredom, discomfort, and mostly confusion in the stuffy hall that day.

Dinner was an unusual affair that evening. My parents’ voices were not shaking like the teachers’, but they were scattered with cracks. They refused to say that anything was wrong, and in fact reassured my even younger brothers and I a few times that nothing was. I picked at my lasagna and wondered idly. My kindergarten mind had managed to figure out something dire had happened, but it was unclear as to what it was.

That night, I could not sleep. It was September in Texas. My house had perhaps the worst air conditioning in the state. I sweated beneath the blankets, the heat keeping my mind awake. I wondered what strange things had happened that I was not fit to hear.

An hour after going to bed, I wandered into my parents’ bedroom, hoping for a Benadryl or at least reassurance that I would get to sleep. I cracked open the door. Inside, I saw a sight I had never seen before. My mother was sitting at the foot of the bed, weeping. On the television screen before her was what looked like a war scene – fire and desolation, ash falling like endless winter.

I closed the door and walked back to bed. I did not sleep much that night.

Three years later. I was nine. It was a boring afternoon in second grade, a Saturday. I idly searched the bookcase on the second floor for something to read. For once, the scraps of paper that hung off the top shelf caught my eye. I was finally tall enough to reach them. I stood on my toes and tried to reach them, pulled, felt paper rip but pulled more.

I saw in my hand a newspaper, slightly torn but in decent shape. It was yellow with age. The date on the banner headline was September 12, 2001.

The enormous photograph in the center of the page was of a skyscraper on fire.

Ash falling like endless winter.

I don’t remember precisely what I did at that moment, when the connections finally fell into place, but I wouldn’t be surprised if like my mother, I wept.