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Samuel Blumer Essay

My First Moment of Silence

On September 11th, 2001, 8:41 am Eastern Daylight Time, an American Airlines passenger plane carrying 92 people struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Across the nation, people of different race, creed and political belief stood staring in awestricken horror at the broadcast of this event. At this very point in time, different thoughts were going through these people’s heads. Some thought that it could maybe be a terrible plane accident (it is sad to think that an accident would have been preferred over what actually happened). 22 minutes later a United Airlines passenger plane carrying 44 people crashed into The South Tower of the World Trade Center. After this, all doubts of it being deliberate were dismissed. Now, all of the different thoughts racing through all of the different heads were thoughts of loved ones, fear, sorrow and confusion. All of these emotions were branded into their memories, leaving a scar so clear that they can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing on 9/11.

I was only two years old when this happened, so naturally I have no memory of September 11th, 2001. Like many other young-adults my age, it took me a few years to fully grasp the impact of this tragedy. Instead of remembering where they were and what they were doing on 9/11, my generation remembers where they were and what they were doing when the learned about 9/11.

I was in the 2nd grade, and school had been in session for less than a week. My teacher, Mrs. Ellis, said that we were going to have a moment of silence because it was the anniversary of the September 11th tragedies. She explained to us that the tornado sirens will sound all at the same time. She told us this several minutes before the memorial was to take place, because 2nd graders are especially curious, as this is the time when kids are able to grasp more complex concepts. Some of us understood why we were having a moment of silence, and others, including myself, did not. She calmly explained what happened on September 11th. Naturally, she began describing where she was and what she was doing. Her class, silent and attentive, saw her change as she was speaking. Mrs. Ellis is one of the kindest women I have ever met. She has an optimism about her that made her students excited to learn about the world around them. As she was describing her emotions and thoughts on that dreadful day, her optimistic glow faded. When I saw this, I could feel the emotions branded in our country. Mrs. Ellis opened the window next to an American flag on the wall. Now a group of hyperactive 2nd graders waited patiently for the sirens to sound. When they did, the unexpected happened. I still felt sad, but as I stood there, listening to the sirens sing their lament, staring at that red, white, and blue next to the window, I felt that I was part of something bigger than myself.

This feeling of patriotism is the essence of how the events of September 11th impacted America. On that day in second grade, I looked around the room at my peers of different race, creed and political background, and felt united with them as young Americans. I know now that that same feeling of unity of what the country felt after the attacks. All Americans, no matter the color of their skin, the religion they followed, or the politics they practiced, felt the sorrow that the attacks brought, as a nation, as Americans. Today, tragedies have become all too common. But, when tragedy strikes, we come together as a country, even in the polarized times we are in, to heal and prevent any further loss of life. That makes me proud to be an American.