Sunday, September 11, 2011

思出す/to remember

There was once a 13-year-old kid who had never heard of something called "the World Trade Center," and could not understand why one of the older students was crying inconsolably.

"A plane flew into the World Trade Center!"
"...the whats?"

This kid's following thought was How could you possibly not miss a building? You are flying a plane. The entire school, which had been hosted at a National Guard building, was sent home.

A combination of confused and redundant news reports and a lack of information regarding what are the Twin Towers?? resulted in, perhaps unsurprisingly, near indifference. How much should I care? This is bad, yeah, but what is all this? Should I care? What's even going on?

The following weeks and months and years were, to this particular 13-year-old, a mix of annoyance and a deep sadness and acknowledgement of what happened-- the sort of thing that sits in you, without adequate verbal expression, taking a little while to be a little better understood-- the understanding that something very big and very terrible had happened, but the only real impact it seemed to really have was inconvenience.

A particularly memorable memory was that, after 9/11/01, each school day for the next year began with an armed National Guardsman walking up and down the aisle of the school bus. Some other kids joked "Maybe we should get towels and wrap them up like turbans on our heads, hahaha" and the 13-year-old we are concerned with was disgusted with the classmates' sarcasm.

Some things have changed, of course, but that's how it was. I certainly care more, and less because of the inconveniences.

You should listen to these-- some of the recordings from that day. They are, to me, more "catching" than the endless clips of buildings falling into themselves. You don't quite hear, but know, people walked out of this world and into the next. Frankly? That's still pretty weird for me.

by Mr. Hipp


The_Expositor said...

I was fifteen, and it had been a normal fall day. We had been working on homework at the kitchen table when the phone rang, and my mother got up to answer it. I remember her voice changing as she talked to the person on the other end, then she turned on the tv. That was the moment I knew something far out of the ordinary was happening. Me and my siblings got up from the kitchen tablet and ran into the living room, because the tv never came on during the week, especially in the morning. Our mother had turned the tv on after the second plane hit. I knew what the World Trade Center was, and now it was burning. The one thing I don't think I will ever forget as long as I live was the footage of people jumping from the upper stories of the buildings. Everything else was innanimate objects, but those zoomed in bunches of pixels were real people plummeting to their death. I still shudder when I think about.

We watched as the first tower collapsed. Our Dad came home from work. They had closed the office where he worked without explanation, and sent everyone home. Before he left, he checked every news website he could think of, but they were all down. I will never forget the look on his face as he stood in front of the tv, and the realization of what was happening soaked in. We watched the second tower fall, then turned the tv off after it was clear that the news broadcasters were just repeating themselves.

We went for a walk later that day. Our house, and the patch of desert where we walked, was under the approach path to the airport in Albuquerque. It was normal to hear planes of varying volumes coming into to land every thirty minutes to an hour. That afternoon the patch of desert was eerily silent, as not a single aircraft came in to land. And that was the last memory I will never forget of the day that was burned into my memory.

Hat said...

I remember the footage: the same, endless videos over and over. It made me angry, because I still didn't know what these buildings were or meant.

Then there were people leaping from buildings, and then the Pentagon and Flight 93 happened. Then it was awful.