The anniversary of September 11th has come and gone again. Twenty-two years really flew by.
The day was a somber one for me, as I am sure it was for many, but I went along with my day as usual, like I am sure most did, as well.
But I had a fleeting realization after I picked the girls up from school that day. As my oldest daughter, Emerson, hopped into the front seat – it hit me. She is the exact same age and in the exact same grade as I was when 9/11 occurred.
Isn’t that crazy?
It is to me. The whole length of my childhood and my early adult years has passed. We are now a generation of adults living with the memories of that day, while our own children are learning about the events we lived through, in a textbook.
Emerson told me that they had talked about it at school that day and she asked me if I remembered when it happened.
Some memories are a little blurred, others are a lot sharper.
Some of my more distorted memories involve watching the news in class and my teacher crying, but I wasn’t sure why. I vaguely remember the intercom going off every few minutes with parents checking their children out early. I do not think I left school early that day, but maybe I did. If I did stay, I do not remember anything else about that day at school except where I was sitting when my teacher flipped on the television.
I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the planes crashing. That’s really all I understood at the moment. I did not know why, but knew it was important somehow. I was sitting in my fourth-grade Mathematics class. Mrs. Killian was my teacher, and I was sitting in the second-row desk.
I remember after my mom did pick me up, going to the gas station my grandparents owned and seeing vehicles lined up at the gas pumps like never before. I remember being confused about this. I remember asking my mom what was going on. I knew that the plane crashes happened far away, but seeing so many people in a frenzy made it feel like it was happening here.
And it was.
I did not understand why or how, but I knew that this event would affect everyone in the country. The crashes happened in New York, but the sadness and fear rippled through every state, city and community. The sadness and fear turned into rage for some. But no matter the differences in emotions, everyone felt American.
Patriotism was at an all-time high in the days following the attacks. That is another thing I remember vividly – seeing American flags flying everywhere – some on flagpoles, some stuck in yards, some in windows of businesses and some pinned on shirts.
The importance of 9/11 overshadowed any argument of political party, race, gender or religion. Sadly, this has subsided.
It is crazy to now think of it as history, when it feels like it happened yesterday.
I am sure when Emerson is my age and has children of her own, they will probably be learning about the Covid-19 pandemic and Emerson will be reminded of the chaos during those times.
Now, I am wondering how many more historical events will occur throughout the remainder of my life. I feel as though I have already had my fair share. Y2K, Hurricane Katrina, Sandy Hook, the election of Barack Obama, the tsunami in Japan – all of these I remember, some better than others. But for some reason I cannot recall the exact age I was. place I may have been or what I was doing during those events quite like I can when remembering 9/11.
I will never forget.
(Paige Nash is a wife, mother of three, digital journalist at the Webster Parish Journal and publisher at the Bienville and Claiborne Parish Journal.)