3 YEARS OLD and NOT AWARE
Date Submitted: 12/20/2015
My name is Isaac.
On September 11th 2001, I was 3 years and 13 days old.
My 3rd birthday was on August 29, 2001.
I personally don't visually remember anything of the day, but I was told on the 12th anniversary of 9/11 by my Mom on where I was that day and what happened with our family.
I was at the time living in a borough located in Camden County, NJ called Magnolia which is about 13 miles away from Philadelphia. I lived their from the time I was born up until my 6th birthday on August 29, 2004. We lived in a three bedroom, one bathroom, cape cod style home on a small avenue.
9/11 was a Tuesday. My older brother, Ian, who was 5, was in pre-k at a catholic school that was located the next town over.
I was at home with my Mom, who at the time was a 22 year old home-maker. Her 23rd birthday was the next day on September 12.
My Dad was a 27 year old truck driver who worked for U.S. Foods. He would on weekdays deliver food to various locations throughout the Eastern United States. I don't remember which place exactly, but I know he was either delivering in Staten Island or Long Island, NY on September 11, as the attacks happened. I think it was most likely though Staten Island.
As a hijacked airplane crashed into the North Tower of the WTC at 8:46 AM, my Mom was making me breakfast in the kitchen at our house. I was in the next room over, in the family room, playing with toys or figures that I had always played around with every single day during my years as a toddler.
At some point, a little after 8:50 AM, my Mom turned on the small TV that was in the kitchen. She turned on the news and saw live coverage of the North Tower burning as it several minutes ago had been hit by a hijacked airplane.
At this point though, most people, including her, thought it was a terrible accident.
She was shocked and called her mom (my maternal grandmother, who we call Nana) who was living in Voorhees Township, NJ. She was at home alone as she was and still is a homemaker, while my Grandfather (grand-pop) was working with his roofing company on a roof somewhere in the southern region of New Jersey.
In Staten Island, my Dad was listening to the Howard Stern Show on the radio and heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and that it was on fire.
It was at this point close to 9:00 AM.
Then, at 9:02 AM, the South Tower of the WTC was hit by a hijacked airplane.
This was the moment when everyone watching or listening to the news realized that THIS WAS A TERRORIST ATTACK and NOT AN ACCIDENT.
I was completely unaware of the attacks even happening.
As the Twin Towers continued to burn, my Mom continued to watch the news and my Dad tried to get out of Staten Island. My Mom also tried calling him, but she could not get through to him. My Dad didn't actually see the Twin Towers burn or collapse, but he did smell the smoke. He said it smelled horrible.
On the news, they said that more planes were in the sky and could be hijacked. My Mom worried and decided to take me with her, as we went to my older brother's school and pick him up.
My Mom was devastated of all the chaotic things that were occurring as it was then found out that the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia exploded and that it was on fire. It was then shortly confirmed that a plane crashed into it. It was also horrifying to watch both Twin Towers collapse live on television.
My Mom eventually got a hold of my Dad on the phone. He told her that he could not get out of Staten Island because the bridges were closed. He had to stay a hotel overnight and came home the next day.
I assume that my Mom, as like most Americans were the remainder of the day, was glued to the TV, watching the coverage of the immediate aftermath that the deadly terrorist attack left behind, as many buildings were damaged and several destroyed and smoke continuously rose up into the sky from Lower Manhattan.
I still today feel impacted by the event, almost like I knew someone who was killed in it, even though I didn't. It is very sad and scary to me and I hope like most that an event like it will never happen again.
Those who die innocent deaths never really die. They are everywhere; we just don't see them in quite the same way. And the culmination of what they were and what their death meant is as prevalent and tangible as the warmth in your soul and the sorrow in your heart.
Imran (story excerpt)