When I was young, I would hear adults talking about how they would always remember where they were when certain things happened. For some, it might be the moon landing, for others it might be JFK’s assassination. I never really understood that concept, however, until 9/11. Oh, I had lived through some momentous or tragic events, like the Challenger disaster, or the fall of the Berlin wall, but these didn’t stick in my memory. Maybe I was just too young, but these events just didn’t sink in.
9/11, however, was totally different. I can still remember the whole morning clearly, at least up until the point I turned on the news. I was in college, my last year there. While I had been allowed to complete a postgraduate program already, I had failed in my term paper portion of my original program and was going back to finish it off. One class, the rest of the week free, and that first class started at 8:30am on the morning of 9/11, coincidentally just minutes before the first tower was hit.
I remember getting out of class and waiting for the wheelchair bus that would take me home. While I was waiting, I heard other students in the hall talking about airlines being grounded continent wide, hijackings, and war. At the time, I remember thinking that I must have missed the premier of some really awesome new TV series or movie, or even videogame, that everybody was talking about. So, I was quite shocked when the bus driver told me that the United States had been attacked.
He didn’t know much, I don’t think anybody did at that time, but he sold me a plane had crashed into a building in New York. He might have even said it was the World Trade Center, I can’t remember for sure. I got home a few minutes later, and turned on CNN just in time to see a replay of the first tower falling. I believe the second tower fell a few minutes later. I spent the rest of the day with my parents, and a good friend that lived in our building, watching CNN.
Since then, only Hurricane Katrina has hit me like that. I hope never to experience such a moment again, since they only seem to come with great tragedy these days.