10 Years Ago Today

10 years ago today, I was 5 years old. Almost 6. I still wanted to own a spin-around-dress store, so that I would have constant access to skirts that floated up when I twirled. I was just beginning kindergarten at Word of Love, a church-run k-thru-5 elementary school. My cousins still lived in Texas. My sister was 3-almost-4. My mom wasn’t even pregnant with my brother yet.

 

Things I remember about that year: I remember getting in trouble in class because I locked all the doors to the stalls in the girls’ restroom. I remember that at that point my hair still curled the way I wanted it to when I braided it at night. I remember reading the Raggedy Anne book and then scrubbing my own Raggedy until she was soaked and nearly nose-less, and then putting her by the window to dry. I remember riding down the (steep) hill we lived on my bike with no hands. I remember pretending to “run away” after watching “From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler”. And I remember walking into the living room on September 11 and finding my mom watching the Twin Towers slowly collapse on our television screen.

 

I was too young to understand what had happened. My first reaction was, “Bekah’s grandma lives in New York. Is she going to be okay?” I didn’t know that the plane had been crashed on purpose. I didn’t know that there were people out there who hated America, who would give anything, even their own lives, to try to destroy us. But I knew that people were hurting.

 

I watched as we struggled to pull ourselves together; in first grade, I finally learned about the terrorists; planes slowly began flying again; I left public school and began homeschooling; my brother was born; we moved to an apartment in Dallas and had what can only be called an epic three years of childhood. And then in fifth grade I returned to public school and learned about Saddam Hussein. I finally began to grasp what happened in 2001. I understood that that plane crash was not just a plane crash — that it was an attack. That on that day in September, not only did people in the towers die, but every single person in those planes. I understood the gravity of all those lives lost, of the families waiting at home who never saw their loved ones again.

 

But I also began to understand that some people did survive, because other people were brave enough to go in after them, and that the bravery of those people was not just limited to a few fire fighters. The bravery was contagious. It spread across the country with the sadness, filling every heart with anger, determination, unity, and pride. I realized that, while that day was a horrible day in American history, it was also a turning point for us as a country. That maybe the bravery didn’t really spread — it was just lying dormant in every American soul, waiting for the opportunity to spring out and fight. And fight we did. We are still fighting.

 

Today, 10 years later, everything is different. Planes fly overhead. Security in airports is tight. We are no longer angry, just proud, so very proud, to be part of a nation that was able to come together to overcome something so unspeakably awful. People of every race, age, religion, and gender are able to relate to each other when they remember what happened on September 11, 2001. Inside, we may argue with each other. We may not like our political leaders, we may not like each other personally; but when someone tries to hurt us from the outside, we are a force to reckon with, because as a family, we don’t let each other down.

 

 

I wrote this poem exactly a year ago. It isn’t anything great, but it does capture the way I feel about my homeland.

 

I remember September eleventh
I came home from school
I didn’t know anything
Everything was cool
My mom was sitting in front of the TV
And when I walked in
She didn’t seem to see me
I said “What’s wrong?”
She said “Move along,
You shouldn’t see this,
You’re way too young!”
But I stayed where I was,
I didn’t move away,
I couldn’t move away.

And the buildings crashed and fell to the ground,
And the dust rose up and the walls fell down,
And I don’t quite remember hearing the sound,
But I know that I cried when the world fell down.

Nine years later there’s a hole in the ground,
In the place where two towers once could be found.
It’s hard to believe so much hate could exist,
That somehow it could come to this.
It’s a prison, it’s a cage in the land of the free,
But it’s the home of the brave, and you can’t cage me!

And the buildings crashed and fell to the ground,
And the dust rose up, and the walls fell down,
And I don’t quite remember hearing the sound,
But I know that I cried when the world fell down.

Five years old, and you don’t know what’s happening,
Five years old, and you don’t understand it.
What about the people watching from the ground
And the ones who went in, and never came out?

But the flag waved high
And the people cried
And so many different people were the same inside,
And we all stood together,
Hand in hand,
When the world fell down
We decided to stand!

And the distance crashed and fell to the ground,
And the love rose up, and the hate fell down,
And to this day, you can still hear the sound,
Of the battle we won when the world fell down!

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7 responses to “10 Years Ago Today

  1. Your blog post is a beautiful tribute to those who passed on 9/11 and to our country of patriots who pulled together for each other.

  2. :’) I love you’re poem girl! Would you mind if I shared it? I’d give the credit to you, of course. 🙂

  3. Lauren, beautifully written. You are a creative young lady. Thank you for posting this.

  4. Lauren, that was a beautiful poem and honest writing of your remembrance of 9-11. Thank you so much for sharing it.
    With Love,
    Haicha Russell

  5. Thank you, Lauren.

  6. Amazing Lauren…amazing. You are truly gifted.

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