I turned 20 years old on on September 5, 2011. I was going to school at CPCC. I drove a light blue 1988 Toyota Tercel hatchback that Anne and I affectionately called "Zoe". I worked at PostNet and served in M28 before they even had interns. I lived at home and my bedroom was pale pink. I had a Nokia cellphone and i think i had about 200 minutes a month on that thing. I like frapaccinos and was sure that by the time i was 30 i would be married with 3 kids. Life was simple.
I remember, a few days after my birthday, i was driving to school. I had a later morning class that day (thankfully not my 8am one) but i left a little bit early anyway. I wanted to hit the snack shack for coffee before Marketing class.
I remember turning off McClure Cir onto Belhaven Blvd. I was listening to Ace and TJ... because they were (and stilll are) HI-LARIOUS. They were talking about something they were seeing on TV. TJ was kinda chuckling about the poor idiot in the crop dusting plane that seemed to take a wrong turn and hit a building in NY. They were concerned, but more confused about the absurdity of it all. I was super confused and about to pop in a cas-single of something (probably Rob Thomas and Santana's "Smooth" because that was my jam) when Angie, the girl on the show screamed. They went silent. I thought maybe someone had passed out or something like that. Ace, in a slow and somewhat hushed voice said "I think we are under attack". They explained that another plane had hit the WTC. I was so confused. What was going on? I felt oddly numb... i didn't really care. it was intense, yes. But it didn't really affect me and i felt disconnected to it all. But as more information was coming in, i suddenly found myself in the student parking lot, not wanting to leave my car, not wanting to turn off the news. I finally did and RAN to class as fast as I could. Thankfully the TV was on in the classroom and everyone was staring at it. It wasn't even acknowledged that I walked in by my teacher. Everyone sat, glued to the screen. I sat down and watched. After about 10 minutes our teacher turned off the TV and said "we need to start class." This did not seem insane to me. Sure... of course. Though the biggest thing that would ever happen to my generation was currently taking place... lets start. Looking back, I can't believe that we were not outraged. I sometimes wonder if she looks back at that moment and wonder what she was thinking.
We always started out with "current events". explaining something happening in marketing that was shaking things up. no one stood up. One student came in the door late and said that she had a current event. She stood up and said "2 planes hit the world trade center.". we all rolled our eyes. Yes. Thank you. We are aware. She sat back down.
At that moment, we heard a screams from the classroom next door. One student stood up, walked past the teacher and turned the TV back on. She started to protest, until we saw that one of the towers had fallen. She sat down on one of the desks in shock. the sad thing is... i remember this moment vividly. I really do. And I remember at that moment thinking "wow. he has balls (pardon the term. But really)." To this day, i respect him so much for that, and i wish i could remember his name.
anyway... we stayed past class watching. eventually i left. at that point, we knew that all planes had been grounded. It is amazing how eerily quiet things seem when you know something is happening. We all kept looking up at the sky. For all we knew, planes were going to hit every city. They might crash into the Bank of America building! Who knows!!!! It seems silly now, but at that moment, everything seemed like a possibility
I met up with a couple of friends and we just sat in the grass, looking up at the sky. We prayed. We sat in silence. I cried a little. I finally decided to go home for the day.
i don't really remember much after that. 10 years seems so long ago now. I remember all the cheesey patriotic songs that came on every radio station for the weeks and months following. I remember loving each one and often crying. I remember that Home Depot was giving away American Flag stickers. I got one for my car. I remember hearing that Osama bin Laden was responsible. I remember hearing that Saddam Hussein paid him to attack us. I remember the celebrity telethon. I remember when we began to attack. I remember that the seemed truly united for the first time in my life. I remember that all of Bush's critics seemed to get behind him.
I remember the morning when i found out Saddam was captured. I remember being in Firehouse Subs when I saw the news that he had been killed.
And i will ALWAYS remember looking at twitter on my phone last night, seeing that President Obama was going to address the nation, thinking "what could he possibly want to talk about after 10 pm on a Sunday?", having my "show" interrupted... getting terrified that there was horrible news, and instead the shock, relief and brief moment of... joy... not really. I don't know what it was. But it was brief... when hearing that the man that we all had feared, hated, had sinful thoughts towards... had been killed.
We watched the news for about 30 minutes and then i turned it off.
I can now say that my children and grandchildren will be born into a world without him. there will be someone else, i am sure. But God is just. God is sovereign. God is merciful.