I walked into my World Geography class shortly before 9:30 a.m. on 9-11-01 with no knowledge of what had happened 1,500 miles north of me in New York City. I remember a couple of students asking the teacher about the incident, but he had a “wait and see” attitude much like myself so we continued on with our daily lesson. An hour and 15 minutes later I left class and walked over to the student center where the television was replaying scene after scene of the second plane flying into the World Trade Center. The student center was packed with people and I could not get close enough to the TV to see what was going on (I had, and still have very poor eyesight). I walked to my red ’89 Camaro and turned on the radio and drove home listening to the news for my entire 30-minute commute. I came home and turned on the TV, which I sat very close to, and watched CNN.
Within a few minutes I absorbed what had happened a few hours earlier and put my mind to work. The events were catastrophic and unprecedented. That much I knew. But other than that, the news was not giving me anything useful. They were repeating the same information, the same videos, the same on scene reports every 15 minutes just like they do with every big event until more information comes in. I have no use for hearsay or conjecture. I want my facts unbiased and backed up by evidence. Those who know me know that I don’t get too upset when things go wrong and I don’t get too excited when things are going well. I do not worry about situations that I cannot control. Something happens, I absorb the information, think about it, and form an opinion.
As upset and afraid as I was at the events on 9/11, there was nothing I could immediately do about it and I wasn’t learning any more from the news broadcasts. So I did what I do in most situations of importance: I slept on it. I took a nap to wait for more accurate information and reports to be presented my way. In the days and weeks following the tragedy, I read news reports and watched CNN to see what new information had popped up.
I’ve had 10 years to absorb information and think about the situation and after talking to a friend that lives in New York I have come to a conclusion. She said something to the effect of “New York has already grieved and moved on. It’s the rest of the nation that’s still grieving.” I know that 3,000 innocent people died that day and it is probably the worst tragedy we’ve ever experienced in America. I also know that we should be proud of how New York has recovered and we’ve recovered as a nation. I think instead of being sad on this day every year we should make it a celebration. Let’s celebrate the firemen that went into those buildings. Let’s celebrate the passengers that crashed that plane in Pennsylvania. Let’s celebrate the way New York has rebounded from that day. There is no need to be sad anymore. One day I’m going to die, or kick the bucket as I like to say, and after a short period of grief I want everyone to remember the good times and be happy that we had them. I think that’s what we should do with 9/11. We’ve grieved and now let’s remember the good times and celebrate the heroes and the lives of the people who died. Start the day off with a moment of silence to remember everyone and then get the party started.
There should be parades and festivals surrounding this day. It should be a holiday where people don’t have to go to work and they can grill hot dogs and hamburgers and kids get out of school. What better way to prove to the rest of the world that we’re OK and that we’re going to be OK, no matter what they try to do to us? You think al Qaeda wants to see the U.S. crying every year over their one great feat of terrorism? Of course they do. If they get what they want, then they win. I don’t think the people on Flight 93 wanted those terrorists to win. In fact, they might appreciate a holiday in their honor.
So fire up the grill, crack open a beer and extend a great big red white and blue middle finger to the terrorists who tried to bring down our great country 10 years ago!