Ten years ago, I woke up to get ready for my second week of third grade at . I climbed down from my bunk bed and walked into my mom's room. She was sitting on her bed, eyes wide, staring at the TV screen, which was playing footage of an airplane crashing into the second tower. That is my earliest memory of Sept. 11, 2001.
The rest of the day is a blur, but I will never forget the image of my mom staring in horror at the destruction. I had just turned 9 years old, so I didn't quite understand the gravity of the situation. The word terrorism had no meaning to me, and war was just something that we learned about in history. All I knew was that something sad and terrible had occurred.
I remember going to school confused. Everyone was confused. My mom spent the morning calling our family on the East Coast, making sure everyone was okay. In class, we sat in a circle and my teacher had the difficult job of trying to explain what happened to a bunch of lost third graders. We had a moment of silence and watched the news, but it made little sense to me.
Being just 9 years old made it hard for me to understand why someone would want to crash a plane into a building. However, I can remember clearly the newspapers and news segments. The plane crashing, the towers falling, people jumping out of windows, the 911 calls made by people on the plane, firefighters and policemen standing in the ruble of the buildings — all theses images are a part of growing up in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
I remember slowly sensing the change in people's attitudes. Everyone was angry. Everyone wanted to show pride for their country and come together as Americans. But it was easy to see people becoming less trusting. Sept. 11 caused rules to change, and people's ideas of each other to alter.
It took me years to fully comprehend what happened on Sept. 11. Every year I would understand it a little more. My generation has come a long way from being confused children. Now we can discuss the legalities of the Patriot Act or examine the psychology behind terrorist attacks. Yet the same sense of sadness and anger remains when talking about these events. Ten years have passed since that day that changed the future our country. And although it's been an entire decade, time cannot erase the horror of that day.