This weekend I took some time to reflect on where I was and the process of September 11.
I was in attendance at the Baxter Springs 9/11 memorial at the fire station and it gave me a chance to think about how those events unfolded and how it made me view my country at a younger age.
I listened to the essays of some of the high school students and thought about where I was. Many of them were only in second grade at the time, making the situation a little harder to understand. I can tell you exactly where I was.
I was sitting in a class. I was in the eighth grade and we were taking a test. It was either an American History class or a government class. I remember our teacher coming in the room and turning on the TV as he began to tell us what happened. At first I did not believe him, I kept thinking oh this must be a hoax — and then there they were, the images of the burning buildings, the smoke, the dust and the rubble. I sat in stunned silence and continued to watch. Throughout the day we kept turning to the TV to get more information about what had happened.
For ten years I have watched the complex situation unfold before me. Growing up in a time where war was a part of life. From the ages of 13 to 23 I have watched our country try to move past the loss and let everyone know we will be all right.
I also sat with my dad and had him explain some of the logistics of the buildings to me. My dad has been a part of the construction world for years. Getting answers to construction questions is very easy with him around.
We sat and I asked why the buildings fell the way they did, what was it about the structure that gave out and many other questions. He answered each one and explained how fire and impact can severely damage a structure and on and on. We spent a lot of time Sunday discussing all aspects of 9/11. It was helpful for that discussion that I was at an age where I could remember so much and understand what was going on when it happened.
I am glad that I was at an age where I could understand what was going on and I can remember what the Twin Towers looked like.
It always boggles my mind when my mom tells me many of her fourth grade students had not been born yet and when they cover the unit discussing 9/11 in her classes she has to show them photographs of the towers so they can imagine what it was like. These young children were born into the world and this was normal to them.
She said it is always interesting to see their reactions when she tries to explain certain aspects of 9/11 to them.
This weekend gave me some time to reflect, explore, discuss and remember some aspects of my life from that day and I am glad that I had the opportunity to think about it, but it is not ever going to go away and so I will save some of my reflecting for another day.
(Stefanie Cope is a staff writer for the Cherokee County News-Advocate. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.)