Bright Rugs and Burning Towers
Date Submitted: 9/11/2016
I was just a child on 9/11/2001. Precocious, but still very little, going on four that December. My mother and godmother were both teachers at the time (still are). One taught at the school I was attending. I remember that morning we had been playing with the toys and reading the books in the classroom as children that age normally will when the teachers started acting a bit strange. I thought nothing of it at the moment. My parents had always had one school related thing or another making them antsy and what not. And then the announcement to turn off the TVs blared through the loudspeaker. It was strange to hear such panic at school and from grown people too, but I figured if anything was truly wrong they would tell us, so I kept about my business. The first kid got called out to go home not too long after. And by just after lunchtime, I was the only child left in the room. By this point, I knew something was horribly wrong and wanted nothing to do with any toys or books in the room. I sat in the middle of the brightly colored rug with letters and numbers and pictures on it and refused to be entertained or pacified with anything but information on why my friends had gone and what was so wrong that day. They wouldn't tell me. And so there I sat, trapped because my parents still had children in their classrooms, and very unhappy with the day's turn of events and the adults' secrecy. After school, my godmother came to get me from the classroom and we went home. Her and my mother explained it as best they could without scarring three-year-old me. That night they told me some bad men had stolen planes earlier and hit important buildings in other places in the USA. They expected me to be scared. They didn't know how to answer my questions about motives and deaths and exact details. And they did their best to keep me away from the footage, though I did see a quick glimpse of some smoking towers on the TV. I went to bed that night a little upset but mostly confused. It wasn't until the days and weeks and months and years after that I learned what a terrible tragedy had happened that day. And I'm still not sure how to feel about that. But I knew by the end of that day something life-changing had happened. The world as I knew it had turned a corner and I could do nothing but watch,
As America confronts these tragic circumstances, it is imperative that the situation is not compounded by expressions of religious or ethnic intolerance. The greatness of our nation rests on the exceptional diversity of religions, nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds which characterize its people.
Statement of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights