Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss, Cherish It.

When I was ten I started the fifth grade, and that was my favorite year of schooling. I found Harry Potter, I became my own person, and I had the best teacher ever. Though, it got off to a rocky beginning, and I think my imagination bloomed as a result of my escapism from a trauma that shook the world.

I'm not going to build up the morning of September 11th. The week my mother and I were going to take a special weekend outing to a festival in Indiana with my best friend. We'd been planning it for a year. I was in school, I went to go outside for morning recess and we were pulled back into the building in an abundance of screaming. I'll never forget the look of fear in our playground advisor's eyes. I ran inside and we were told only that they weren't allowed to talk about it. It's creepy as an adult to see a bunch of adults remain silent, and it's even more petrifying as a child. A classmate ran up to me and said that she'd seen my mother, and let her into the building so she could pay my tuition. My first thought was: idiot, we're on lockdown, that was a mistake. Then I took a sigh of relief. My mother was fine, and I could focus on finishing the day, so I could go home and find out what had happened.

Grandmother was waiting for me in the parking lot.

"What was it, what happened?" I screamed.

"Do you remember the twin towers we visited when we went to New York?"

"Yes, of course," I said, searching her face for more hints.

"They're gone."

We rushed to my godmother's house which was across the street. I sank to my knees at the sight of what was on the news, tears streaming down my face as the news anchors explained to me the situation and that was when I became aware of Osama bin Laden and all I could say was "I hope they find him."

A decade went by, and I just watched a video of Obama telling the world that bin Laden is dead. My country, my school, my culture is singing aloud like a scene from MunchkinLand.

I'm scared. Why am I strange? What is wrong with me to not have the first reaction of happiness when the man who had caused a world so much trouble is dead?

And, what's going to happen to us now?


  1. I know what you mean. Not sure if it will ever truly end..

  2. I think it's amazing that you can remember so much of what happened on 9/11, even though it was ten years ago. I remember a lot of it too, though. I even remember what I had for dinner that night. I wonder if I'll remember what I had for dinner on the day Osama was killed ten years from now....

  3. This is fascinating PJ. I just was recently writing as a part of my dissertation about when I was in fifth grade and saw the Challenger explode on TV (in class). It had not occurred to me yet that my student's defining national trauma for that age was the twin towers. I don't know how I would have reacted to that as a child. I was working in a law firm in Seattle when it happened, and my good friend had just flown back to Ohio that morning after visiting us. Our whole law firm was just in shock. We barely talked at all and got now work done all day, of course.

    I feel the same as you, PJ: scared. Its strange after so long to find out he is dead. What's next then?