This is an opinion piece.
I had to be 10 years old, in the fifth or sixth grade, on Sept. 11, 2001. I was in Mrs. Morefield’s classroom and students were getting pulled out of class left and right throughout the day. With each departure, my sense of unease grew.
All the teachers seemed on edge, quiet, but I kept thinking if I was in real danger we wouldn’t be here.
I finally had to ask what was going on. I remember I lost a buck for it — we earned fake money for good behavior, which we could later spend on prizes — one of the only times that happened because I wouldn’t be quiet. I don’t remember what I said nor do I remember what she said as she proceeded to tell us the horrible news.
Those of us left in class said the reason others went home was because of how close our school was to the local regional airport.
I went home at my usual time and could find nothing on TV but news coverage of ground zero in New York City. I don’t remember feeling much fear, confusion or really anything at all when I finally learned what happened. Like any disaster on the news, it must have felt so foreign and far away to me as a kid that I couldn’t comprehend the unique gravity of the situation.
I went to a Christian school, but I could still sense an increased focus on religion and patriotism all around me, and I was happy to join in.
But I have no memory of how I felt or what I did as a result fo my feelings, just mental images of events.
Recently, I sat goose-fleshed at my computer as I watched footage of the attacks, as I listened to the panicked 911 phone calls and confused news reports. I felt visceral anger watching the towers explode thinking about the perpetrators planning the attack for years and how their fellow jihadists must have cheered at the screams and cries of Americans.
Part of me is thankful I was too young to really feel the impact of that day, and the other part’s glad I can look at it from so many years removed and still feel how monumental it all was.
Daniel Tayloris the news editor for The Reporter. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.