Nathalie Yanes Essay
Michigan Will Remember
By: Nathalie Yanes
“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” President George W. Bush said that on November 11, 2001 in his speech to the United Nations. The point of remembering isn’t to grieve; it’s to honor all those who died for our safety. On September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda terrorist hijacked four passenger planes. The result, as we all know was a travesty. Two planes hit the towers of the World Trade Center, and one hit the Pentagon. The fourth crashed in a field thanks to the passengers on the plane willing to sacrifice their lives for others. No one knows the exact destination of that fourth plane, but we do know that thanks to the American citizens in it, we were saved from a lot worse. September 11 has impacted people everywhere. There are taped phone calls from wives calling their husbands, mothers calling their children, children calling parents. Many people lost their lives that day, but the United States has prevailed from that day and has become stronger.
I remember. Not every detail, but I remember. I remember the feeling before anything happened, like I could perceive something was going to go wrong. I didn’t think much of it, I mean I was four. It was a usual sunny day in Los Angeles, California. My mom was doing my hair in the living room while she watched the seven o’clock news. I remember, out of nowhere, hearing screams coming from the television. My mom turned around, stood still for a while, and as I turned around to face the TV to see what was going on, I saw a small tear roll down her cheek. I asked her what was wrong, but she didn’t answer me. She told me not to look at the screen, so of course, that’s the first thing I did. I didn’t quite understand; I saw the people crying on the television. I wanted to understand, to know what was going on. All those crying people, my mom, I wanted to help them. A building fell down and then another one followed by a plane or something resembling one falling, on fire. Thinking it was a movie, I felt the sorrow but didn’t quite believe it yet. I imagine the feeling for my mom to have been something like numbness, a feeling of such deep sympathy and sadness. If I replay it in my head, I can almost hear the hearts of so many going still with anticipating hope only to be broken as they see and hear the people throwing themselves from the buildings and hearing the sound of impact. I went to school and my teachers couldn’t function. Us kids? We didn’t comprehend it yet, but we knew. We could feel that something was missing, and we didn’t feel whole. We didn’t play double dutch that day, nor did we have our usual monkey bar competitions. The older kids were all sitting by their classrooms, a look of complete loss on their faces. I don’t think W. Claude Hudnall Elementary had ever been so quiet. I don’t think America had ever been so quiet.
So now, about 12 years later, hearts are being healed, families are recovering and people are moving on. This is why remembering this event is vital. It’s important to remember all those firefighters, police officers, hard workers, sisters, brothers, cousins, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and ordinary people. Many people will say it’s important to forget, to move on and not let it impact us, but the truth of the matter is that this happened. This incident has shaped us, America, into what we are now. September 11, 2001 is a part of us now and all those heroes and innocent people shouldn’t be forgotten. I’ll remember because this has impacted me in a new way. Even just writing this essay makes me realize I need to appreciate everything I have. I don’t know what tomorrow holds for me. All those innocent people didn’t know what was going to happen, but they didn’t have to think twice about sacrificing their lives for our security. This is why we shouldn’t even have to think twice about remembering them. This is why Michigan will remember.