When you’re 5 years old, bad men crashing planes into some of the most important buildings in your country is a hard concept to wrap your head around.
On Sept. 11, 2001, I was a kindergartner sitting on the show-and-tell carpet listening to my teacher try and explain what had happened that morning. A television was rolled into my classroom and left on the first news station that came on.
At that young of an age I couldn’t understand why so many people were jumping from two smoking buildings. I didn’t think that it was real. There was too much going on at once for someone my age to comprehend. The only time I had ever seen a person jump from a building was when I watched Batman swoop down from atop buildings to save the citizens of Gotham City. What happened that morning was entirely different from anything I had ever seen in my short five years. I was overcome with sorrow as I sat on the carpet with 15 other confused kindergartners. At that time I didn’t know that what had happened that morning was the start of a 10-year battle.
That night, I went home, and my parents sat me down in the living room to try to explain the events that had occurred that day. They told me that some very bad men flew planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and that many brave people lost their lives that day. I was told I shouldn’t be scared, for my country had many courageous men and women who would give their lives to protect mine.
Now, I am no longer that kindergartner on the show-and-tell carpet but a sophomore sitting in a desk in my history classroom. Over the years, I learned that war can break out over the most petty of topics, but the concept of terrorism is something I will never be able to completely understand.
Being one of the millions of youth in America, it terrifies me that people could hate our country so much that they would want to kill our innocent citizens. Many of the people that died that day were parents, or even still children themselves. Being a country that gives so much to others, I still can’t bring myself to fathom how we could be viewed that horribly by a group of people.
Every night on the news I hear about the ongoing War on Terror and how many faithful troops we lost that day protecting me. I find myself sitting and wondering about the fallen troops’ families. Those troops have children, parents and friends that love them, but they lost their lives because of a group of ten men that hijacked planes and steered them into buildings with thousands of people in them. It’s hard for me, as a teenager, to cope with something as dramatic as the 9/11 attacks and The War on Terror, but I know that America is a strong country with devoted citizens.
One of the most inspiring things that happened on 9/11 was the people on Flight 93 taking over the plane and bringing it down in Pennsylvania. Though those people lost their lives, they saved thousands. If Flight 93 had not gone down where it had, it would more than likely have been flown into the White House. This is extremely touching to me. Many acts of heroism took place on that day to protect the rest of America’s citizens. We would not be the country we are today without our troops.
As a country, we owe much thanks to our armed forces. One group that stood out to me is unofficially known as Seal Team Six. When I found out that this group of Americans brought down Osama Bin Laden, I was overcome with pride. I was proud that a group of Americans had begun the ending of what Bin Laden and his followers had started 10 years prior.
After 10 years have passed, ground zero is still a place of sorrow. In retrospect, it should also be a place of pride and honor. Walking onto the grounds of where the towers once stood should remind people of every person who gave their life that day, whether it was a firefighter, a policeman or a secretary sitting in her office.
I ask that on the 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, we take a moment of silence for those we have lost in the past ten years due to the events that took place that day. In times of distress, we need to remember that we live in America: The land of the free and the home of the brave.
Nicole Jacowski is a sophomore at Waupaca High School.