Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Will Never Forget

Eleven years ago I was a sophomore at Clarksville High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. First period was normal: my next-to boring geography class. Second period was my favorite class of the day: theater arts. I walked into the classroom and sat on my usual couch (since there weren't any desks in that room) and waited for class to start. Ten seconds later, Matt, the teacher's aid came running into the room yelling that a plane had just crashed into one of the towers of the world trade center.

I laughed for a second because of how ludicrous it sounded. Then Matt turned on the tv, and there it was. The tower was on fire with a gaping hole in the side. Minutes later, we suddenly saw a second plane crash into the other tower. We saw it happen live, in real time.

We were all horrified. I don't remember everyone else coming into the classroom, but I do remember my teacher deciding to let us watch and talk about what was going on. Who was she to ignore this terrorist attack and pretend to move on as if nothing had happened? Other teachers at our school wouldn't turn on the tv and stuck to their syllabus. I'm still upset at them to this day. You can't simply ignore something so traumatizing that has scarred our nation and world. That just makes things worse.

The rest of the day felt like a dream. Everyone was somber. As I learned in my third period class about the other planes that had gone down, I couldn't help but wonder who these people were.

Obviously, they were terrorists and had their own agenda and values. But didn't they have a personality? A family? Friends who made them laugh? A favorite food? A sense of humor? A heart and soul? Who were they to take control of ending someone else's life, not to mention thousands of other people's lives?

Life itself is a miracle. It is sacred. A single person is made up of trillions of cells, each alive and thriving. There is a beating heart--a muscle that will pump steadily for 90+ years if taken care of properly. There is a brain, that has neurons which transmit thoughts and words and knowledge and memories so that we can speak about them. There is a mouth, which can taste the most delicious dessert and speak many kind words. There are hands which feel, touch, hug, hold, create, and write. There are eyes that can see the most breath-taking sunrises. There are ears that can hear the most gentle lullaby or hear a rhythm that can move the rest of the body to dance. There is skin which can feel a single raindrop at the start of a thunderstorm on a warm, summer day.

That is not something to take lightly. That is not something that is for another human being to destroy.

I pray that on this anniversary of such a traumatic and unforgettable occasion, we remember those things. I hope that we remember that there are those who do not see life the way you or I do. I hope we remember that, because if we forget we may be reminded of it again, and it could be in another horrifying and mentally scarring way. We must remember the events of September 11th, 2001. We need not dwell on them, nor is it beneficial to simply replay the footage over and over again. That alone won't do anything for good.

However, if we remember that it happened, that it's past, and hold in reverent admiration the miracle that a single life is, we'll thrive. As we keep those things in mind we will honor and love each other, and it will be easier to protect one another from the evils of those who do not respect an individual, much less many individual lives.

So I will remember. I will always remember what occurred that cool, crisp morning as I sat at school, watching the selfish choices of others permanently damage and affect someone's father. I'll never forget those terrorist acts that took the life of someone's son, someone's daughter. Each person who died on that unfortunate day had a family, friends, and such high potential for a future of good.

Please remember that too, and let's live a good life and reach our potential in honor of those who never had the chance.

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