Besides the obvious events that occurred on that day, what else did you notice? Amongst the horror of innocent civilians and the deaths of many fellow Americans; during brave and courageous searches performed by rescue teams, police, and firefighters; amidst hours of radio stations and news shows informing the people about the day’s horrendous events, did you happen to notice something incredibly powerful, yet much more subtle?
What about the spirit of our people across the country?
On that day, people were terrified, angry, stunned, and depressed. And because of those feelings ― because we shared those common emotions at the same time and sympathized with one another ― we banded together. Over time, we did our best to move forward as a nation and at least attempt to heal all those personally inflicted by 9/11. People who had been deeply traumatized began displaying the most amazing demonstrations of willpower, and that inspired each and every one of us that day.
So on the tenth anniversary last month, I began watching documentaries of 9/11 to educate myself a little more. I had only been about six years old on that day, completely confused to all the grownups’ shock. All I had known was that something bad had happened. Naturally, as I grew older, my classmates and I began to learn more and more about the event, but I still had no clue of the pain the personal victims had felt, so I thought to myself, “Hey, might as well try and get a glimpse through their eyes with these documentaries.”
Needless to say, I bawled, and I will admit that without shame. However, I will never get a glimpse through their eyes because I simply was not there. Those documentaries did not give me much more of an insight than I already knew – I just ended up blotting my eyes for several hours.
Thinking I would go the rest of the day being disheartened and haunted by the surreal images, I ended up going on the Internet and stumbling onto a photograph that brightly contrasted against the sad, nostalgic photos and videos of that day.
A glorious, heartfelt photograph of the World Trade Center site had two towering lights, set up by 88 searchlights, soaring into the night sky. It was to remind everyone that the memory was still there, that we will never, ever forget that day or the losses we had all experienced as Americans. And with that image of human strength, unity, and hope, I began crying all over again, but it was for an entirely different reason this time around.