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.