Sur(real) life…

I take back what I said about the first day of the Media Impact trip and how surreal it was being in the New York Times and New York City in general. Nothing compares to the feeling I had when I walked into the 9/11 memorial museum.

I can remember the day of this terrorist attack only vaguely. I was six years old and had no real understanding of what was going on, let alone what a terrorist attack was. It was early and I was just getting ready to go to school when I go downstairs to see the T.V. on, which is extremely rare. (My siblings and I weren’t allowed to watch T.V. on weekdays until homework was done, let alone turn it on before school.) I remember looking at the T.V. and seeing some really tall building going up in flames and smoke. Six year old me didn’t need a teaching lesson on buildings on fire to know that this was not good.

It was at the point in the trip where people in our group are starting to get weary and patience was wearing thin. We were cold and our feet were killing us, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the 9/11 memorial. We walked into the museum and immediately I could feel the density of emotion in the air. Our group has done every activity on the trip together so far, but once we walked into the museum we all split up. I personally wandered off on my own and took the time to look through as much as I could before the museum closed.

There were two things that I will never ever be able to get out of my head. 1: I was too little to remember the footage of the planes flying into the building and seeing the building explode and hearing screams. There were about eight T.V.s lined up in a row, all playing footage of different angles of the planes flying into the World Trade Center. I kid you not, I could not pull my eyes off of the screen. I was so awestruck, fascinated and horrified at the same time. My brain started racing with thoughts of how scared the civilians who were in other buildings or on the ground were watching this happen… in the flesh. 2: I walked into a very small room with dim lights and panicked voices playing over the speakers. I looked at the photographs on the walls and immediately I was in tears. The images were of individuals jumping and falling from the World Trade Center. I closed my eyes to hold back tears because I was so overwhelmed. I listened to the panicked voices being spoken over the speaker. I couldn’t tell you what was more bone chilling, the voices of the panicked voices, or the images of people jumping from buildings.

This museum was one of the most chilling and fascinating museums I have ever been in. It gave me an entirely new perspective of the terrorist attack that happened on September 11th, 2001.

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  1. #1 by emilygoodpress on January 16, 2017 - 6:49 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I appreciate your honesty about your memories and the candor with which you present them. I was young as well during that time, but I remember it as well. Although I did not understand what was going on at that age, I knew it was horrible and it haunted me.

  2. #2 by jvanwingerden95 on January 24, 2017 - 7:16 am

    I was also six years old at the time of the attack, and despite not remembering all that happened that day vividly, the historical significance of such an event was not lost on me, and it will never be.
    Surreal is the perfect word to describe the memorial. I remember being struck by the fact that 9/11 actually happened. That it was the greatest loss of American lives due to such an attack. I remember going into a room with a telephone and listening to the messages of a passenger on the plane and hearing the worry in their voices, words and tone. It was overwhelming… I think we had a similar experience in the memorial.

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