18 Years – How Do You Remember 09.11.01?
On September 11, 2001 I was 17 years old, in my first year at SUNY New Paltz, commuting from Fishkill but didn't have class on Tuesdays, so I was home, doing some homework early in the morning so I could go to my part time job later on in the day.
On September 11, 2001 a breaking news report interrupted what I was watching while doing my homework, and I just sat there, like most did, wondering what the hell was happening.
On September 11, 2001 I got in touch with my mom at work, asking if she had heard from my uncle, who was FDNY.
On September 11, 2001 I tried getting in touch with friends on campus that were from NYC/had family that worked in the city - not everyone had a cell phone in 2001 and we had to rely on calling dorm rooms to touch base.
On September 11, 2001 I listened to fellow students on the college radio station figure out how to report on the events that directly impacted them, their families, their friends and community.
Fast forward, and here we are on the 18th anniversary of the tragic events of that day.
18 years later I am still part of the SUNY New Paltz campus community, now as a 2-time alumna, and current staff member.
18 years later I woke up early and watched the news coverage of the events of 09.11.01 and the remembrance ceremonies and services that now occur yearly.
18 years later we still never really talk much about the fact that my uncle was a first responder that day, and the days that followed. That he was in one of the side buildings that collapsed and that nobody heard from him for more than 24 hours. Thankfully, he survived.
18 years later I still think about the friends that were directly impacted by these events, especially one of my first friends on campus, who lost her dad that day.
18 years later I advise that college radio station, and still worry about the impact this day, and the stories that the reporters will read tonight, will have on them.
A dear friend of mine from college posted this, and I couldn't have said it better - she gave me permission to share (Credit: Carrie Anne):
I will never forget the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Being on a college campus close to NYC created an experience that I don't quite think can be replicated. I remember how a kid in my history class (where I was when the attacked happen during) said America deserved to be bombed and Lauren Pastore about charged him and ripped his head off with her words and her bare hands. I think about how eerily quiet the normally bustling vibrant campus was. How you could hear a pin drop in the dining halls as people were silently watching the events unfold. People who were strangers watched together in dorm rooms of those who had a television (gasp not everyone had one), and maintenance trucks quickly had makeshift signs about bin laden and american flags on their windows. Being from somewhere other than "downstate" I was in the minority. People were frantically trying to get ahold of loved ones. Moms, dad, uncles, brothers, sisters, family and friends. Phones didn't work because of the panic, bridges In and out of the city were closed for fear of further attack- we had nothing to do but rely on each other. Campus wide we came together that night for a candlelight vigil I'm sure it was thrown together last minute, i know they ran out of candles but I also know it was amazing to see the majority of students there. Our English class did a service project, my friends and I went to NYC to volunteer once the bridges re opened...I remember this so vividly and I remember it's lingering effects on our campus for so long. It wasn't just one person affected it was an entire community. I remember my first 9/11 anniversary away from New Paltz and it was so very different- the feel, the events, the day just didn't seem to have the same energy behind it and I thought of the girl who lived across the hall who's mom was a flight attendant on a flight, the girl in my plant life class who's uncle never was found and all the others who knew someone or were deeply affected by their family's close calls. I look around today . I've read the posts about not forgetting these events , the effect on my friends, neighbors and peers is still as vivid as it was 18 years ago. Sometimes I wonder if our day to day actions speak louder than a simple picture or a post on a Facebook wall. Don't forget 9/11 today or any other day. Let the love and support we shared that day and the days and weeks that follow serve as a model with which to live our lives today. The senseless violence in our country says that maybe, just maybe we have lost touch with those emotions immediately following the attacks. Love yourself a little more, your neighbors a bit more often and forgive the little things because if 9/11 reminds us of anything it is how lucky we are to live in this country, have the freedoms we have, and the awesome reaponsibilities of US citizenship. Let it reminds to spread more love and less of the hate. We experienced enough tragedy and hate on 9/11 and the war on terrorism that followed. It's time to stand up and end the violence with love.
We will all remember the day differently, but i'm sure we certainly all remember it well.