Today I thought I would be serious since it is such an important day.
11 years ago today, I was a freshman at the University of West Georgia, living at Strozier Hall. I remember it was a beautiful day, cool and sunny, like today. I was late to class and sitting at the bus stop next to my building. One of my friends leaned out of the window, yelling to get back in the building. What I saw on the television has changed my world. I will never forget this day.
I do remember that all the girls in my dorm forgot all the pettiness and group building that is so prevalent in teenage girls. For the whole day, we sat in different rooms because we all kept our doors open not caring if we were friends or not. I remember that so many people at UWG forgot the social norms and became a family as we cried together at the lives lost and/or affected, screamed at the live images that will never leave our minds, and tried frantically to call our loved ones because we needed to hear their voices because we were in fact still children. I remember missing my friends from high school and my family because I was in a new place doing new things and wanted the familiar during this tragedy. I remember worriying about my baby sister, Maggie, and how she would understand all of the horror since she was a six-year-old little girl. I remember worrying about my younger sister, Amanda, and how she,even though she was a junior in high school, was handling all of the horror without her big sister to immediately talk to. I worried about my parents, a former Navy man and Navy wife (if you are a military brat, you understand), and all they understood about this tragedy and the people they knew who would be affected because they were still in active service.
I now teach children who were born in 2000 and 2001 and that blows my mind. They don’t remember the day and have asked me what I remember and what it felt like. I try to help my students understand the importance of the event, and how they can make the world a better place.
I also know that I will not let hate for others be the emotion that rules this anniversary. I believe that today should be a reminder that people can be good and people can be bad, but that we, as humans, can do many great things that can try to change the world and make it better. Remember that my friends, especially during this election season where so many hurtful things can be said on both sides. I love you all, even if we disagree on so many things. You are all amazing and special.