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Gone But Never Forgotten…Fifteen Years Later

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Fifteen years ago, the unthinkable happened. Two airplanes hit the World Trade Center – the Twin Towers.

It was the most shocking moment in American history. It’s insane to think it happened fifteen years ago already.

I remember bits and pieces of that day; I was in the first grade and the day started out like any other. It was time to get up and get ready for school; my mom had the day off while my dad was at work in the city. I get to school, my teacher, the most obnoxious woman in the world, who basically bullied her students, was doing nothing else but yelling at one of my classmates.

That was until she looked to her right, and fell silent. We all looked to the right. What we saw, cannot be unseen.

***

How well does one exactly remember fifteen years ago? Yes, it was a tragedy, but we were about six years old? Maybe seven? How well can someone, especially a child really remember something from that long ago?

My teacher fell silent, and then we heard an announcement for all teachers to dismiss their students, all parents and guardians were called to come pick up their child.

No one understood what was happening, we couldn’t have. No one was telling us what was happening or going on. Being in a tall building and the city being minutes away, all we saw was dark smoke filling the air, more and more.

Being six years old and not knowing what is going on around you, is a scary feeling. All I remember is feeling scared and uneasy. We just got to school and now we are going home, all because of some dark smoke? I don’t get it.

My mom came to pick me up, and had a really worried look on her face. I only saw her have that look on her face once before, and that wasn’t a good look.

Some parents like mine, worked in the city; my dad still does, and my mom now works in Long Island.

We got home, and I stopped to look up. I saw more dark smoke filling the air; I was able to smell it too. I remember that because I remember crinkling my nose and covering my nose to stop the smell.

Being curious, I asked my mom what was going on. All she said was that something very bad was happening, and that I’m too young to understand it. But that I would soon know, and when I would, she’d explain it to me.

We went inside; it was around, I want to say one o’clock I was eating lunch. Our television was on the news constantly and my mom was on the phone. I was in the kitchen and my mom still had the panicked look on her face.

I asked one more time what was happening; this time she didn’t answer me. At six years old when you don’t understand what is going on, the main question is why.

I kept asking why there was black smoke and why wasn’t dad home yet. My mom just kept saying she will explain later.

I was in my room, playing, and I looked at my clock. It was around five o’clock already. My dad wasn’t home yet, when he’s usually home around four.

I went to go ask my mom where he was, and went outside again. Still saw nothing but dark smoke fill the air. It was that moment where I felt my heart start to beat faster and faster.

My dad still wasn’t home.

It was around nine o’clock at night and I hear the door open. It’s my dad. I was only six but have never felt so relieved before in my life. He was finally home.

What I didn’t realize at that moment was that I was one of the few that got to say that.

I was lucky.

***

Loosing a loved one is never easy. It never gets easier. I personally do not know how it feels loosing a loved one in such a tragedy like this one, but I do know what it feels like loosing a loved one.

Over the years I never really stopped to think about what really happened on this day. People I knew lost their parents, aunts, uncles, and friends, while I’m at home with both my parents – alive.

I will forever cherish that. I will always thank God for letting me have a life with my parents.

Today, children are learning about this event. Some are learning about it for the first time, which is mind-boggling, but nevertheless, they are learning about it. It’s sad to think that we are the last generation to live through that event, but it will always be a memory that we have in the back of our minds.

Even though we commemorate today by appreciating those who lost their lives on this day, fifteen years ago, but do we really sit and think about what kind of sacrifice those people made?

I know I didn’t.

I think once I went through pain, heartache and loss, I finally learned to appreciate those who are in my life, and the time I have with them. I think what I have taken for granted most in life, is time.

Now, I know that time is precious, and anything can happen in a day, hour, minute, or even a second.

To all the families that had to live through this horrific tragedy, I’m sorry. I know that it’s not easy, but stay strong and it will get better with time.

To those who lost their lives that day, you may be gone, but are never forgotten.

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Gone But Never Forgotten…Fifteen Years Later