On Friday night, September 11, 2009, I baked cookies, cupcakes and brownies with the young ladies at Marian Hall. Our plan was to walk over to the 14th Street Fire House and deliver the baked goods along with a bouquet of flowers and homemade cards to the firefighters of East Village.
Eight years prior, I was getting into the car in the morning of my first day of high school. I sat in the passenger seat and as I turned on the radio, Rick Dees was in the middle of saying, “This is not a joke. The World Trade Center has been attacked.” I looked over at my mom and told her that some building in NYC was flown into by an airplane. We shrugged it off and went about our day. She dropped me off at school and I walked into first period marching bad. Mo Li, the senior drum major was standing on a chair behind the podium with his back turned toward us. He was messing with a small TV propped up on top of our lockers, turning up the volume. He yelled at everyone to sit down and be quiet. We watched the news and coverage of the attacks. I looked around, confused as to why everyone was so captivated and looked so worried. I still didn’t understand it.
Third period, I went to my freshman English class and the first thing my teacher said was, you all must be very distraught. She looked stressed out, upset, and worried. I didn’t understand. Mrs. Thurber passed out blank journals for us to write in. Our first activity was to write down how the attacks on the WTC made us feel. I didn’t know what to say. I felt…confused? Apathetic? Alarmed? Or just tired and nervous because my freshman year was starting?? I felt selfish and ignorant.
Eight years later, I’ve graduated high school (trust me, I didn’t think it’d happen) and I graduated college. I am living in New York now, and probably will be for another year or two. I have this amazing life, and in eight short years, I’ve grown so much. I can’t believe it.
It felt so fitting on Friday to be in NYC, going to visit Ground Zero on a rainy morning before work. It was crowded there and all the lines transferring to the area were packed. It made me feel a part of something big, united, beautiful, and persevering.