Never Forget: The Feelings From Small Town America

So today is the 18th anniversary of the largest terrorist attack since Pearl Harbor, on American soil. September 11th is an interestingly sad day for a lot of people, including myself.

I had just turned 7 mere days prior, and my mom and I lived a little over 50 miles from what I consider the more forgotten event that day: the interception and crash of Flight 93 in the fields of Shanksville, PA.

Talking with my mom last night about this, she said that it was a huge amount of weight on her shoulders, trying to not only grasp the events themselves, but how to explain to, let alone what to show, her 7 year old daughter.

This is where I want to share my short story of that day, and how reflecting back on that horrible day, has been for me, now that I’m in my mid 20s.

My mom was going to college at the time, and I was obviously in elementary school. I recall going over my spelling words for the test that week, and looking out the window, seeing a plane. I can’t speak to if that was the plane that went down or not.

My memory jumps to having one of my teachers saying that my mom was on the phone, wanting to talk to me. She told me, that her classes were cancelled (at this time, the twin towers had been struck), so she’d be home, to get me from school that day, and I know she didn’t tell me much other than it wasn’t personal, but it was a big deal.

From there, I recall walking in the front door, and my mom left the news on, and I saw a recap of one of the towers being struck. I don’t remember having the teacher tell us anything, assuming the school thought best it’d be left to the parents to express the new found horror.

I don’t remember how my mom explained it to me, about anything that was going on, and if she even mentioned all 3 locations that got hit. I do recall watching the news for a brief while, then I went into my room to play and probably do whatever school stuff I needed to do.

When I walked in the house, and saw the plane hit one of the towers, something in me knew the weight of what I was seeing, without knowing much. I still feel that type of heavy chest weight, that I felt that day, reflecting.

Obviously as I’ve gotten older, I figured out what all went down that terrible morning.

Almost a decade later, my dad took me to go see the still makeshift flight 93 memorial, where there was victims’ licence plates, favorite shirts, letters, flowers, you name it, all pegged to a section of chain link fence.

Twelve years later, right after my high school graduation, my maternal grandparents, mom, and I visited the same memorial, but now it was pretty close to being finished.

Eighteen years later, I live even closer to that saddening location than I did when I was a child.

I didn’t lose anyone that day. I don’t personally know anyone who lost someone that day. But the slash in the heart of this “middle of nowhere” community has hurt ever since.

Now we have people, full legal adults, who were brought into this world, in the midst of such a disgusting day.

You can say what you want about the administration that was, at that time, but there was nothing like America on 9/12.

My mom adores (at least I think she still does) the Gather Vocal Band. They did their cover of “God Bless the USA” and that will always stick to me, when I think of that time in our nation’s history.

I’ll end on this: I think we need a little less 9/11 and a little more 9/12 feelings back.

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