09 October 2007

Life after 9/11

I was born and raised in NYC, and loved it with every breath in my body and i still do. My family lived in the Bronx and I because i have so much proud for it I am going to say it is the best part of NYC. Even though i have a great sense of proud for the Bronx, i went to high school in Manhattan.
It was my freshmen year of high school, a time crazy time in its own right, and the second day of classes. I don't think i can ever forget that day for the rest of my life. I way the city smelled, and felt what i could see and hear outside
the window. I was in gym class when the teacher had us all sit down and listen to that the principal was saying. We were in the basement of the school so the sound system wasn't great. All i could make out was that if we needed to talk there were people in the main office. Of course this confused me greatly, but being a normal 14 year girl i wasn't worried it because sooner or later i thought i could figure out what was going on. Well class end ten minutes later and we all went up stairs to change and get ready for the next class. I headed into the locker room and there were two girls crying their eyes out. I ask what was wrong and they looked at me like i was crazy. "Didn't you hear what happened?" they ask, i replied "no i was in the basement, what is going on?" The next thing i know I'm on the floor rocking back and forth thinking "who would do this kind of thing?", "were they still out there?", "was my family safe?", "how the hell do i get out of here and get home?"
We were told to go about the day because all the trains, bus, and subways were closed and the school couldn't let us leave by ourselves. So though out the day many girls were leaving because their family members were coming to pick them up, and all i could think was when is my mom coming for me? Was there something wrong that she couldn't get to me? During my free period i was finally able to get to the pay phone to call her. She answered the phone on the first ring and starting crying. She did try and get to me but the police closed down all the bridges going into or leaving the island, so she couldn't get me. She went as far as to pick a fight with a cop because he wouldn't let her on the bridge and was almost arrest. But i was safe and so were my brothers and sisters.
Classes continued as if nothing was wrong, but there was this feeling of fear and waiting in ever room i walk into that day. I didn't get home that night till about 8pm, after classes the school keep me and 5 other girls in the school because we were still on lock down because our parents couldn't get to us. Lucky for me the Principal's assistant lived near me so she gave me a ride home. All the way home i looked at the sky and cried. There was so much smoke and blackness in the sky. It smelled so bad, like something was still on fire and the smoke itself was hard to breath in. I will tell you this, for the first and only time in my life there was no noise in the city. On the thruway there was only about one or two cars, most people were walking in the middle of the THRUWAY in dead silent. There were no words for this day, there was just quiet and again a sense of waiting for the another shoe to drop.
I never felt more all like an American or like a New Yorker in my whole life. It was as if the past didn't matter, there wasn't a difference between whites, blacks, or Hispanics we were just people who had been hurt so much that there wasn't even anger, just plain emptiness inside all of us.

These feelings and more remind me of Pearl harbor. A single event forever changed the way Americans looked at the Japaneses and the same thing is happening again. It wasn't all Muslims but one group that did this to us. But because they did more than kill a few Americans they destroyed a belief, a symbol on American soil, we hate them. And because we wanted a war so bad, a part of me feels that we lost our humanity.
After 9/11 America went to war to fight terrorism, during the red scare we were fighting communism. I don't know why theses "ism's" are causing America to sent there men and women to distance lands and die. I understand that we are protecting other countries, and the idea of a free land, but a part of me can't stop thinking about how similar Pearl Harbor and WWII is to 9/11 and this fight against terrorism.
I just hope that our government learns from its past mistakes and we don't have to relive the ugly truth from WWII again.

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