Last Friday, I saw a video of the events that took place on 9/11 for the first time since it happened. It...gave me chills, seeing that. It made me realize exactly how horrible that day was for us. So, I decided to write a story in tribute to it. Now, please note that the narrator is supposed to be ambiguous, and that I am not the narrator. I hardly even remember what happened on the day itself - goodness, I was only six years old. Anyway, I hope that this story is good. Please don't forget to review!
The Day It Happened
I saw it. And I don't mean that I saw it on TV or a video clip of it.
I was there, in New York City, when the twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed. Whether by some cruel twist of fate or perhaps divine intervention, I was there on September 11, 2001.
What? You want me to tell you about it? I don't know about that . . . Yeah, it was a tragedy, a major one—one that broke every proud American's heart—but something like that is hard to talk about. Every time I even think about it, it's like I'm there, watching the World Trade Center fall apart all over again.
You still want to know? Well, you're persistent, to say the least. Fine, then. I'll tell you what you want to know, but only because you asked nicely. I'll tell you about that day, about 9/11.
Funny thing is, I can't even remember why I was in New York in the first place. A family visit, a business meeting, or whatever . . . That's the only thing I've forgotten, though. Everything else about that day, I remember as if it were yesterday.
I was just walking along the street, perfectly content with life, the twin towers standing there as they always had, when it happened. You know, I would never have imagined that something like that could happen so suddenly. I was just walking to wherever I was staying for the night, and then all of a sudden, BOOM! I heard an explosion behind me. Startled by the loud sound, I whirled around to face where the sound came from, where the Twin Towers stood behind me.
Fear held my heart in its icy grip as the sight of the South Tower expelling dark smoke branded itself onto my brain. The proud tower was on fire, and I didn't even see what had caused it. I couldn't even do anything; all I was able to do was stand there and stare at the smoke staining the clear sky like darkness tainting light.
And then I saw what would cause another fire, this time within the North Tower: A passenger plane, seemingly harmless at first. It didn't seem harmless at all when it crashed into the tower, causing an explosion much like the first one I heard. I remember thinking, Why is this happening? I had no idea that this was a deliberate attack executed by terrorists, not then. I thought that maybe this was an unfortunate, highly unlikely but still possible accident. But two planes crashing in one day, so close to one another? Confusion buzzed in my mind, as if my thoughts were bees swarming my brain. All that I knew for certain was that both of the towers were burning now.
And as if that wasn't terrifying enough, I started hearing these other noises: THUMP, THUMP, THUMP. Loud thuds sounded repeatedly, as if someone was dropping something heavy onto the pavement over and over again. But I was so unlucky as to be close enough to actually see what was causing those sounds.
It was human bodies making those sounds, alive until the moment they slammed into the pavement. People were jumping from the top of the tall towers to escape a fiery death. But as I looked at the body of someone that had jumped, I wondered, was this really a better fate? The thought caused my own body to tremble briefly with a shudder.
It was another long while of me and several others standing in shock, watching the Twin Towers burn before something else happened—the worst thing to happen yet.
The South Tower collapsed.
I could almost feel the world, the security I once had in life, crumble around me as the burning tower shattered and fell apart before my eyes. I had never dreamed that something that had always stood so proud and strong would simply disintegrate the way it did, collapsing in on itself, and falling to nothing but a pile of smoking rubble. But that proud tower gave one last thrash in its death, blowing a forceful cloud of dust and debris in all directions. All of a sudden, I was forced to run from the cloud for fear of getting struck down by the flying debris attacking the streets.
My heart clenched inside my chest when I stopped running and suddenly remembered that the some of the people that I held most dear was in one of those towers. Panic settled upon the fear already coiling in my stressed, pounding heart when I tried to recall which tower they were in. The South one that's already collapsed, or the North Tower where there was still a chance to get out and survive? Why had something so important slipped my mind right then?
I fretted about it—North Tower, South Tower, which one?—for the longest time, it seemed. And then my world crumbled a second time as the North Tower began its inevitable collapse. Much like its twin, it threw a dust and debris cloud in its death throes, compelling the other observers and I to flee again to avoid the dangerous flying glass swirling within the cloud.
When the dust and debris storm died down for the second time, I looked behind me to see what had become of the towers now. I wish I hadn't.
The twin towers that had seemed to always be there were now gone, reduced to twin heaps of debris. There was now little to no hope of my loved ones surviving. But if anything, I had to be sure that they survived or didn't survive, one way or the other. I ran towards what remained of the towers, my feet clumsy with the shock of the situation at first, but soon gained swiftness and agility as my desires propelled them forward.
I reached the piles that were once the towers, but didn't stop until I nearly tripped over a large piece of rubble. I stood there a few moments to catch my breath before I threw myself into the debris pile with the firefighters and police, searching frantically. My hands tore at the rubble and debris until they began to bleed, at which point the police officers tried to pull me away from my search, telling me that I shouldn't be in there and that the police and firefighters would take care of the search for survivors.
"No!" came my defiant reply.
After that, the police officers dragged me away, my heart beginning to break as I got farther and farther away from my loved ones trapped in the rubble.
To my relief, most of my loved ones were rescued before they could suffocate within the pile of rubble. But one, they got to too late. My heart broke all over again when I received the news. No, it didn't just break—it shattered into at least a hundred pieces, leaving scars that to this day have not fully healed. Yes, even ten years after that day, my heart still aches when I think about what was lost that day.
Well, that's pretty much all I have to tell you, unless you want me to go into the details of the memorial and the funeral and all that. You don't? That's what I thought. So why are you still here? . . . How I feel about all this? How do you think I feel? I told you, it was heartbreaking, to say the least. And I can also tell you, it will be something that I will never forget, never. Oh, and one more thing: If you're American, I ask that you remember it, too. Even if you weren't there, keep the memory in your hearts and acknowledge it, especially on days like this, the tenth anniversary of that day. But if you're truly American, I don't have to ask that of you, right?