I am writing this because I can’t be home for September 11th. This date is so important to me…as it is for all Americans…and even other people in the world.
Today, 9 years ago, my country was attacked. I was 7 years old, but I can clearly remember what happened. I remember teachers crying and telling us gently that our country was under attack. I remember standing for what seemed like hours in a dedicated silence as the Towers collapsed. I remember going to a friend’s house and seeing the falling buildings and jumping people and thinking it was a movie. I genuinely thought that NOTHING like that could ever happen to us. I think a lot of Americans felt that way. I was very young, but I still remember everything about that day. I am just a girl from West Brookfield, Massachusetts…but I was touched directly by tragedy that day.
I used to fly on American Airlines Flight 11 all the time. My entire family lives in California and I visit them frequently. Flight 11 went out of Logan Airport in Boston and flew to Los Angeles International Airport. A few years after the September 11th attacks, I found a tag on one of my suitcases. It said I was flying on Flight 11. I had been on that plane numerous times. This almost makes the attacks more personal. I was just a normal young kid on her way to visit family on the same plane where other normal people went to go visit their family…and never made it. I sat in the same seat as somebody who died as the plane smashed into the World Trade Center. This touches me profoundly.
Every September 11th, I always feel very close to all of my fellow Americans. We are truly united on that day. This year however, I am not in my country with my people. I am patriotic and I love my country. I never realized though, until today, what it really feels like to be American. I was thinking about the people who sacrificed themselves on that plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I feel SO proud of them, yet I have never met a single person on that plane. This feeling made me think about everybody else who died, not only on September 11th, but on any day fighting for my country. Of course, before I left, I felt proud, but this is a different feeling.
I hurt so much for the families who lost somebody on September 11th. Before leaving for Denmark, it almost felt like I myself lost a family member, when I actually hadn’t. I think that this is where I have changed since living here. I have realized that I really HAVE lost somebody, many people in fact. I have lost fellow Americans. They were Americans, like me, and now they are gone. I feel their deaths now more than ever before. I was proud to be an American before leaving the country. Now, I can truly say that if I ever had to, I would die for my country. It may sound dramatic, but something has changed in me today. I may not be physically in the United States for this day, but I am remembering just like everybody else. I would LOVE to be able to home just for today so I could just be another American remembering the deaths of other Americans. I am not able to be home…But I am still remembering.
Time has gone on since the September 11th attacks, and Americans have obviously not forgotten what happened on this day. We never will. I truly believe the attacks brought our country closer together. It is kind of like this line from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:
“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
The people that died were normal citizens, but they have not died in vain. Their deaths have made our country and people stronger. We are all Americans. Americans displayed such bravery and heroism that day. I am so proud of them. This is what it feels like to be an American. And I am proud.
God bless all those who perished 9 years ago today, and those who have given their lives in our country’s history for our freedom. We will never forget. God bless the United States of America.