I was a college freshman when 9-11 happened. Like many Americans, I remember that day vividly. Grappling with fear and uncertainty, I wrote an essay that night detailing the events that had unfolded. That essay was a way for me to cope with what was going on, and today it’s my window to the past — a past that’s now 15 years old. I can’t believe it’s been that long.
It’s been 15 years since 9-11.
In some ways, it seems like a lifetime ago. In others, it feels like only yesterday.
If you were alive, you probably remember what you were doing when you heard the news. You probably remember the fear, the confusion, the angst, the uncertainty.
I was a 19-year-old college freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno. That night, I took my laptop to Getchell Library (since demolished) to write about what was going on. I wanted to document, in my own words, the fear I was feeling, the chaos that was unfolding.
That essay is like a time capsule for me. It takes me back to that day, to the very table I was sitting at as I wrote it. I’ve read it several times since 9-11, and it never fails to roil up those frantic emotions I was feeling — emotions I imagine every American was feeling that day, in their own way.
On today, the 15th anniversary, I felt it appropriate to publish the essay here. Only close family has read it. I usually post only humor on this site — as humor is the only way I know of grappling with an often-insane world — but this essay for me helps to mark a significant event not only in our nation’s history, but in our lives.
I was a kid when I wrote this — a kid who hadn’t yet set foot in a Journalism 101 course — so the bulky paragraphs make me cringe, and some of the historical facts aren’t accurate (the attacks killed 2,996 people, not 10,000).
However, I’m glad I wrote it, because it captures for me a time and a place — as well as the accompanying feelings — and it helps me to frame that day in my mind, so that I’ll never forget. Human memories fade, and time tends to numb pain, but it’s always important to remember.
And as a country, collectively and individually, we will always remember. Keep reading…