Hentzel: Ten years later, a memorial of Sept. 11


A decade ago, our country was devastated, we mourned as a nation, and now we unite and remember. The repercussions will not only be felt once a year or even once a decade, but will occur every day and every time we look to the skyline of New York City.

Whether it is by word of mouth that memories be passed down to our children and grandchildren, or through textbooks, pictures and video documentaries, our country will forever be reminded of a single action that not only broke our hearts, but helped us grasp the hands of our neighbors and send a message back to the world: United we stand.

Everyone can remember with vivid detail when a traumatic event happens. To our parents, ask them about where they were when Kennedy was shot, to your grandfather, one event: Pearl Harbor.

Watch as their face changes, then without hesitation describe their clothes, what they were thinking at that moment, what they might have been eating or doing. It is amazing how as a nation, one event can make us all remember.

I was walking up the stairs; they were blue. I was in fourth grade at Jefferson School on my way to have breakfast with my family’s friend Mr. Ort. I had on my plaid jumper, and I walked in and saw a TV in the corner zoomed in on smoke. I thought a tornado had happened again, possibly in Oklahoma. I asked him what happened; he simply brought me over and told me that it wasn’t a tornado, but a plane in a building in New York.

At that moment, my heart sank. I couldn’t comprehend the entire thing; I had never seen the twin towers before, until I saw another plane fly into it, now engulfed in a blazing inferno. It was almost slow motion, and then I saw it enter the second tower.

The whole day we watched the TV. Nobody did anything productive in class; multiplication tables and spelling exercises were forgotten. From that day, citizens were terrified, beaten and broken, and yet rays of hope started to bring us out of the dark place that surrounded us — stories of brave men and women who were from the New York City Fire and Police Department, and volunteers who helped find survivors.

It has been 10 years, and our men and women are still fighting a war in order to stop terrorism, to ensure that the world is safe and no other nation or child has to remember when their own form of a tower crashes down.