I Didn't Know it Happened Until a Year Later
Date Submitted: 6/17/2017
I never heard about the attack the day it happened but I remember a very weird day and I made the connection the following year. I was six years old and my parents and I lived in Atlanta at the time. My parents had recently celebrated the one year anniversary in August 2001 so they were still on cloud nine and so in love like they are today. I was in the first grade and normally Fridays were half days when we'd get out at 12 pm rather than 3 pm. I was also learning how to tell time at that point. It was Tuesday and all of a sudden a student's name was called on the intercom: "So-and-so, please come to the principal's office." Of course as kids, we would "Oooohh!" thinking that someone was in trouble. We soon started to tune it out because one student after another was being called out. Soon my name was called. It was only 10:30 am. My mom was there smiling, but it wasn't a normal smile. While her co-worker drove us to her job, neither of them spoke and we didn't turn on the radio, but the radio said 10:30. I figured a few years later that my mom's job was about 30 minutes from my school, so my mother must have left work immediately after the first tower collapsed and the second had collapsed while we were driving back.
I was never interested in the news as a child, and every time I went to my parents that night, they tried to keep me from facing to the television, which makes sense considering that nearly every station was showing live footage or replays for the next few days. By the time the one-year anniversary of the attacks had come, my parents and moved to California and I was homeschooled. During a break, I saw my mom watching a montage on the news. I asked her if that was happening now and she explained that it was a year ago and what exactly had happened. When I was a little older, I would watch the documentaries that aired on the anniversaries and even though it was sad to see, it didn't hit me until recently when I watch a compilation of the attacks from home videos and heard Kevin Cosgrove's last phone call as the first tower was collapsing.
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