While enrolled at THINK Global School, students are encouraged to be creative during the course of their studies and travels. When the students document these thoughts, we are often delighted with the results. In her student reflection, “9/11,” 10th grade student Liisa T. recalls where she was when the attacks on 9/11 took place
I WAS SITTING ON A LIGHT BROWN WOODEN CHAIR just in front of the Sofa, and the TV was on in the background. This is our living room; I was five years old and my mind was occupied with whatever it is that occupies a five-year old’s mind. In front of me, I had several of my toys. I remember that I looked up at the TV screen for a split second, and what was facing me was the TV news on Channel Four. Always Channel Four. “What’s going on?” I asked my mom after watching a cellphone or camera recording of a plane flying into a large skyscraper. There was a lot of smoke. A lot of thick, black smoke. It was everywhere in that city. Even though I was very little, I could sense that something was wrong. Very wrong. My mom deflected my questions by saying, “Ohh, that.. that’s just nothing. There was an incident in New York – but don’t worry, everything is alright.” And right after that turning the TV off. My mom doesn’t do that. Maybe she explained that some people had died, but nothing more. This might be my first memory of my mom with a voice full of worry.
This is how I remember 9/11. Being stranded on the living room floor with more questions than answers, a TV that recently has been turned off, and hearing my parents discuss if they had reached some people whose names that I vaguely could recall hearing before.
Those are some of my very first memories of 9/11. They might differ from my parents’ account, but I remember this very well. Hearing about 9/11 later on made me realize that this memory was very real and that those people that once or twice had come by to have dinner – who the young me had had snowball fights with, and who had tried to teach me how to make paper cranes, but for some reason could only speak English to us – was the family in New York that my dad had tried so desperately to reach out to that day. Later, it would always be something that was to be found very far away of reach; it might be a teacher mentioning it, a brief comment on the news, or somebody somewhere making a comparison with the latest terrorism attacks and 9/11. Sometimes it would be something that would feel very real. I remember once there was a documentary on the TV showing every single event in the area of the incident hours before and the terrifying hours later. The grey smoke and the American accents would seem to slink into our living room and for a brief moment become a part of the air in it. It always seemed more realistic than what any ceaselessly award-winning Hollywood producer could have created.
Yet, I have to admit that I’ll never be able to imagine what those people felt during that day. What it is like to be inside of a collapsing building. What it is like burning while inside of your office. What it is like being an onlooker from across the street in a different building, or seeing your mom or dad’s workplace collapse – or even being inside of a hijacked plane. I think going to the memorial place for the victims of 9/11 and having a survivor from the fire department come over to talk about boots melting in the heat of a Twin Tower made me respect each of those individual even more. I just pray that no one in America or out in the world will ever again have to go through the piles of a building looking for their loved ones. It made me pray even more that this kind of disaster will never be customary and that no one should ever be afraid that their home or family will be a victim of terrorism..
And I do know that there were several other events on 9/11. However, the fall of the Twin Towers killed the most people and is what went through my mind during our trip to New York, so I choose to focus this reflection on it.
9/11 survivor, John Busching
TGS class with Nicholas Martino (Spring Term)