September 14, 2009, Nashville, TN., 6:15 p.m., D.S.T.~
September 11, 2009, has come and gone, thankfully without incident; the memories, however, remain as strong, as vivid, as ever. I can remember every minute detail about that day, even though I was only a little eight-year-old boy when it happened.
I was at school when I first heard about it. I was struggling with my reading when my teacher came in, tears clearly seen on her face. She looked like she was going to throw up. She said that the twin towers in New York City were now on fire; planes had run into them, first one, then the other, in only a matter of a few moments.
At the news, my heart sank. I immediately began crying hysterically.
The first thing I thought of was my brother, Erick; he lived in New York City, not that far from the twin towers. I thought he had been hurt or even killed somehow.
Later, I got home. We got out of school early that day; the buses took us home before one o'clock. My parents met me and my brothers and sisters at the door; like my teacher, they were in tears, too. They said it was a terrorist attack: some bad people who hated America did this; we were now at war.
I was terrified. I was afraid they'd bomb us next, right here in Tennessee.
That was when I noticed no planes flying. Everything grew eerily quiet: the only sound I heard was traffic on our road, and then it was not much, not like it usually was. It was scary!
Once in a while I would hear a military-type plane or helicopter flying (checking the sky for suspicious planes, I guess), but no regular jet airliners or small commuter planes.
I wanted to see the television reports about the terror attack; our parents said no. They told us to go play; they said the news was showing things they didn't want us kids to see, or else we'd have nightmares. I didn't care. I wanted to see what was going on, and if there was any word on my brother.
I didn't know for several days to a week whether Erick was okay or not. Then we got the call; it was Erick calling, to let me know that he was okay. At the news, I immediately fainted with relief and shock.
It turned out that the attacks were a lot worse than I had ever imagined: nearly 3,000 people (men, women, even children) were killed, most of them at the World Trade Center towers. More died on the four planes, and more died while trying to help find the injured or dying.
For days, weeks, months afterwards, they held tributes/memorial services for the terrorist attack victims. That was the only thing on television; I snuck a look once while daddy was watching the news, and I saw the towers falling in a cloud of ash and smoke.
When the twin towers collapsed, my heart collapsed right along with them.
It was the worst feeling in the world.
Ever since then, I have had nightmares of being in the towers when the planes hit; I can't tell you how many times I've ripped my family awake with my screams (or sent my dog, "Ginger", into spasms of loud barking).
I have been going to counselling as a way to help me deal with the memories; a lot of my family members have. We've also been spending a lot of time in prayer, praying for those families who were most affected, and also the brave volunteers, rescuers, firefighters, police, etc. who fought with valor in trying to locate the missing, dead, or injured who were still trapped in the rubble of the towers before the mess was cleaned up.
We have gone to the memorial service every year since then; the last one was just three days ago, on Friday, held at Centennial Park here in downtown Nashville. They had speeches, tolling of the bells as each victim's name was read, moments of silence, and special music appropriate for this sad rememberance. There wasn't a dry eye in the place. I think I cried the hardest; I cried for my brother, even though he wasn't killed, but he saw the planes hit the towers. I am sure it messed him up pretty bad, too.
I know it did me.
For the past several years, I have been writing a letter to the Twin Towers, as a way of helping me deal with my grief, but not this year. For one thing, my muscular dystrophy has made it harder for me to be able to write, so when I have to journal or do any writing, I do it in short spurts, until I get tired; then I rest, and start again, when I get some of my energy back. Or I speak into a tape recorder and have my brother transcribe what I say into my personal online journal. (Like now. Michael is writing what I am saying; it looks like I am writing, but in reality, it's Michael who is doing it for me.)
In any event, I will never get over the memories. I can't. I have friends who lost loved ones or friends; to forget about them would do them a lot of injustice, so I force myself to think back and reflect. I don't like doing it, but if we don't remember that Dark Tuesday, we're only doomed to repeat history -- and this next time, it might be a lot worse than the first time.
We're also at war, trying to find an unseen enemy; it seems we're not making any headway in finding the Al Queda (spelling??) mastermind, Osama bin Laden, or our own troops are getting charged with murder while the enemy uses their own people and seemingly get away with murder (literally). It's not fair, and it isn't right! It is a very scary time in our world, and I'm afraid it is only going to get worse if we don't wise up and get down to business to find these bad terrorists and bring them to justice!
Well, I have only made myself cry again as I think about September 11, 2001, so I am going to head on out of here. I will write again another time; until then, this is Johnathon saying may we never forget about what happened eight years ago! May God have mercy upon America, and may He find favor to bless her again! We really could use some of His blessings about now!
~Love, your friend in Tennessee, Johnathon. :( *tears*