Friday, September 11, 2015


It’s been 14 years since the 9/11 attacks. A whole world changed on one Tuesday morning.  It’s easy, nowadays, to lose sight of what the attacks meant.  It’s easy to argue over semantics, over who caused it, what was the motives, was it a conspiracy, was it an inside job, could jet fuel melt the steel, etc, but  in doing so, and in arguing and placing blame—well deserved blame, I might add—we mustn’t lose sight of the way that we felt that day.  We mustn’t get so caught up in pointing fingers, and repeating empty phrases that we forget the magnitude of the tragedy that occurred on that morning.
On September 11, 2001, I was a sophomore at Nixon High School.  I, like everyone else who was of a cognizant age, vividly recall that morning: the air, the mood, the somberness.   I remember getting to school in typical Luis fashion: late.   I remember getting dressed in a hurry, and hearing something on the news, but not paying attention to it. On the drive, I was listening to a CD so I didn’t hear the radio news.  It wasn’t until I was in Ms. Scaggs room for BCIS that I, that we, saw the news.   I don’t remember if there was an announcement or if another teacher came into the room, but we were alerted to turn on the TV.  On the screen we saw what everyone else saw. We saw the crashes, we saw the towers ablaze, we saw the towers fall.
For what seemed like an eternity an entire high school was silent: awestruck.  Nobody could grasp the immensity of the matter. We knew that there were countless deaths , that countless more deaths were to follow, we knew—we felt—that things wouldn’t be the same when we woke up. I worried about my then-brother-in-law Achim who worked in the world trade complex (but not in one of those buildings) and I worried about my sister—his wife.   I remember stepping out of Mrs. Scaggs room, no instruction given, no work done. It didn’t matter for that day.  I remember walking across the Nixon courtyard crossing from one building to the next.  I remember “Proud to be an American” playing on the speakers as thousands of teenagers changed classrooms in practical silence.  I remember the ominous mood that loomed over our lives, over our existence. I remember feeling like I was in a movie, like this was the introduction to the main conflict that Bruce Willis or Will Smith would sort out within the span of 90minutes. I remember knowing that that hero would never come.
It’s been 14 years since the 9/11 attacks. Our post-9/11 world is a stark contrast of the world before. For the better? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. But while you do, don’t forget the fallen, don’t forget day, but mostly don’t forget how it felt.

Monday, July 27, 2015


It trickled down my face and off my nose. That always made me slightly smirk as it tickled my nostrils on the way down.  There's always something special about feeling that first drop. It's almost as if the sky is giving you a personal invitation to experience what inevitably lies ahead.  The skies parted and drops of rain began to fall. Plop, plop, PLOP! they went all around me--precursors of what's to come.  Then the gushing torrents began. The wind began to pick up speed and my hair began to fly in its wake.  Thunder crackled and lightning flashed in the grey marble sky while small branches started to surrender to the wind and rain.  I stood in my yard soaking it all up. I felt a drop trickle down my face and off my nose.  I smirked.