Monday, October 28, 2013

Memory Vs. Reality


September 11, 2001


Although I was seven at the time of the nine-eleven terrorist attacks on our country, I vividly remember following it avidly the day it happened and the few weeks after. I was pulled out of school that day and taken to my mom’s friend’s house, and I spent the day watching the news broadcast that brought the terrible news. I can’t remember an exact time that I first heard about this awful tragedy, but I believe it was around 10:30 am. I recall sitting on the couch at this stranger’s (to me she was) house. One mental picture replays in my mind whenever I think about this sad moment in our history. I can envision the plane crashing into the twin towers. The news station played that footage over and over again; so many times that this image now represents nine-eleven in my mind. Because I was so young, the facts of the situation are unclear to me. From what I remember, one plane crashed into the twin towers in New York City, and another crashed into a field near Washington D.C. I know over five hundred were killed but I do not recall an exact number or if it was over a thousand. One memory sticks out more than the most; the scariest part of the nine-eleven tragedy for me was living next to an airport and listening to the planes pass over my head every night for the next few months.

After researching the nine-eleven terrorist attacks, I found all the facts about what happened on that sad Tuesday in September. What actually transpired is even worse than what I remember. Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center; one into each tower. Those crashes killed hundreds instantly and trapped many more in the buildings as they slowly collapsed. In the twin towers crashes alone, 2,823 people were killed, including the passengers on the planes (http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/sept11/victims/state_basicfacts.htm) . Of those killed, 343 were New York City firefighters, and twenty-three were police officers. Two more planes were hijacked that day. One was crashed into the Pentagon. The other was crashed into a field near Pennsylvania (http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks). In these two crashes, including deaths at the Pentagon, 233 more people died. Over 3000 people died that day, and victims were from more than 90 countries (http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/sept11/victims/state_basicfacts.htm). On the day of the attacks, not much was known, and much of the nation was in panic. One article from the day of the attacks lists the missing planes and the buildings that were targeted, but the writer has no information on which plane is which (http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/11/worldtrade.crash/story.html). Panic reigned and the nation sat glued to their televisions in horror. Many Americans suffered depression, and were fearful for our country for a long time. USA today did a poll one year after the attack and found that 60% of Americans believed that another similar attack would occur in the near future (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2002-09-10-for-the-record_x.htm). Over time, our country began to heal and the fear loosened its grip on us. In May of 2011, the mastermind behind the attacks, Osama Bin Laden, was killed by American military and C.I.A. operatives (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/world/asia/osama-bin-laden-is-killed.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0). Hopefully this provided the closure America needed and we can face the future. But we will never forget the tragic events of nine-eleven.

My memory of the events was definitely off. I knew that the twin towers were targeted, but I had completely forgotten about the Pentagon. I also didn’t realize four planes were crashed that day, and I did not know how many people were killed. The reason behind this is mostly due to my age. I was seven at the time, and I may have known the facts then, but I slowly forgot them over time. Looking back, it is crazy to me that I did not realize just how many people were killed. Nine-eleven was even more tragic than I remember, and my memory of it was already one filled with despair. Even though I did not know all the facts, I feel as if I remember the most important things. What I recall now and what I will keep with me for the rest of my life is the fear that gripped me and that took hold of the nation. I remember being scared of our country going to war and I was scared for my own safety. This is what has stayed with me through the years, and it is imperative to recollect these feelings so that I can fully enjoy the wonderful sense of security I feel today. Every time I think of nine-eleven, I picture the image of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. This image evokes a terror in me I cannot and will never forget.

Works Cited

"9/11 Attacks." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks>.
"Sept. 11: For the Record." USATODAY.com - Sept. 11: For the Record. N.p., 11 Sept. 2002. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2002-09-10-for-the-record_x.htm>.
"September 11, 2001: Basic Facts." September 11: Basic Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. <http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/sept11/victims/state_basicfacts.htm>.
"Terror Attacks Hit U.S." CNN.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/11/worldtrade.crash/story.html>.

York., Peter Baker, "Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says." The New York Times. The New York Times, 02 May 2011. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.