Student reflection on 9/11: 20 years later

Bella Lee, Staff Writer

I was only 8 months old the day that America stood still.My mom was preparing to take me to go apple picking with my aunt and cousins when she received a phone call from my grandmother. My grandmother frantically told my mom that a plane had just hit the Twin Towers and that she needed to turn on the TV. My mom said it was probably just a small biplane and it was a mere accident, but my grandmother insisted that it was much worse. My mom finally turned on the TV, and the moment she did, the second plane hit.When my mom heard that a plane also crashed into the Pentagon, she went into a full-blown panic. At the time, my dad was working in Washington D.C., only a few blocks away from the Pentagon.

She tried calling him, but the phone lines were overloaded. Finally, hours later, my dad was able to get through to my mom, telling her that D.C. was being evacuated, but he had secured a ride home.You know how Dec. 7, 1941, the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed and launched the United States into World War II, was dubbed “a day that will live in infamy?” Sept. 11, 2001 is this generation’s day that will live in infamy.While I was just a baby when these events all occurred, my family continues to tell me this story every year the anniversary of this fateful day passes. It helps both me and my family to never forget what happened that day. However, now more than ever, we need to make sure that this day is not forgotten. We have an entire generation of schoolchildren who weren’t alive when 9/11 occurred. We have students starting college this year who weren’t alive when 9/11 occurred. We even have children being born to parents who weren’t alive when 9/11 occurred. While I was too young to remember this day, I had my opportunities of learning.

The summer after I graduated high school, my dad took me on a trip to New York City as a graduation gift. We went to see the 9/11 Memorial, and my dad pointed at one name, and I could tell he was struggling to hold back his emotions. It showed a woman’s name followed by “and her unborn child.” There were at least three names like this sprinkled throughout the memorial.With all of the hate, the pain and the suffering going on in the world, we must remain diligent in teaching future generations about 9/11. Because everyone can share a common feeling of grief on this day. Because people can come together and share their stories. And most importantly, because as the saying goes, “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”