16 years ago, I was 16. I remember hearing about the World Trade Center attacks in Mrs. Reinstein’s class as we were leaving and then in Mrs. Edgar’s English class, was sat in silence watching the news reports for the entire period. Nobody said a word as we watched the second plane hit.
It feels like it was so recent to me, but it was half my life ago. The world changed so much in that day, but I was so different then. My motivations were making the varsity football team, hitting a 300 lb bench and getting good enough grades to get into Michigan. I didn’t know about the history of terrorist attacks, foreign-policy and the prospect of a war that would rage on until I was 32, and probably beyond.
It’s definitely a defining moment for our generation, much like our parents or grandparents Pearl Harbor, D-Day, JFK assassination or walking on the moon. It cast our world into more polarization, fear, blame and hatred.
I remember that day because football practice was canceled so I was elated. I had a free afternoon with no sprints or drills. Should I have been happy? I went to my friend Matt’s house and we talked about what happened. He said the significance of 9/11 was that 911 was our emergency phone number. Was that true? It sounded plausible enough.