Sunday, September 11, 2011


I was 12. I was in chorus class in 7th grade. I don't remember what song we were singing, but I remember vividly the other chorus teacher walking out of the office and whispering something in my teacher's ear. Then she told us a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. I didn't even know what that was. I'd never been to New York, and at 12, did not have a concept of what the WTC was. But I knew by the look of horror on my teacher's face that it was bad.

I sometimes get morbid obsessions, even now, and the next few days, I was reading every news article and watching the news at every chance. Not that there was much escaping, since that was all anyone could talk about. I remember carrying around the newspaper all day, mostly just full of images. The one that terrified me the most that day, and sticks with me still, is of a man who had jumped out of the building, perhaps because he knew death was near and wanted to choose how he died.

I didn't know anyone who died that day. But since time has passed, I have met people who have had family and friends who did. I have known people also who have had family members who have been lost in the resulting war in Afghanistan.

It's been ten years. I'm now 22, and have moved across the country. Last night, some of the other LA JV's and I went to an interfaith memorial vigil downtown. There was music, prayers in different faiths, reading of the names of the Southland people who were lost that day, and lighting of candles... over 500. We got there later so didn't have candles, but a few people gave us some. One of the other JV's was holding one, then passed it on to me. Soon after, a photographer started snapping a lot of pictures of me... I was wearing my shirt from the BPFNA conference from 2 years ago: "When there is justice, then peace will come." I haven't found the picture online yet, but will post it if I do.

9/11/01 shook our sense of security. The world changed to terror alerts and war and vengeance. I hope in the next decade we can instead confront our own actions, for we must be the change we want to see in the world. If we want peace, we must work for it.

All week, I've been listening to Ani DiFranco's "Self-Evident". I hesitate in posting it, because it is a little painful to listen to in parts, yet I also feel it captures the spectrum of emotion felt that day.

We all held hands and jumped into the sky.

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