Do not forget 9/11

Americans should remember the tragic suffering and loss caused by the September 11th terrorist attacks fifteen years ago. |

Tim Seeberger, Writer

My home is Long Island, New York. I am exactly a 53-minute train ride from New York City. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. As I sit approximately 3,500 miles away from my hometown, I implore you not as Californians but as people of the world: do not forget this day.

“Where were you when it happened?”

This is a day infinitely important to so many people where I live. I was fortunate enough not to lose any family members in 9/11, but I know countless amounts of people who have family members who lost their lives that day.

From kindergarten until 12th grade, I cannot recall learning anything on this day. It is a day reserved for teachers and students to tell their stories.

I have heard too many stories of teachers and students who lost family members from the attack. I have heard stories of people winning coin flips and therefore not going into work at the North Tower, thus saving their lives.

The main question asked by others on that day is, “Where were you when it happened?” Considering I was four at the time, the day is a blur. The image of the planes crashing into the tower being repeated on the news is burned into my brain. When I was picked up from my babysitter that day, I remember all the children on our block playing in the street while their mothers congregated to ask each other if their husbands who worked in the city were safe. I found out a few years later that my father was in the city on September 11th. He watched the planes crash into the Twin Towers from his building in Midtown. His building was evacuated immediately. He was one of the thousands of people who walked across the bridges leading out of Manhattan. Thankfully, he met someone from my town on Long Island out of chance and safely got a ride home from him.

During this time, though, my mother, or anybody for that matter, had zero contact with family members. All telephone lines were down in the city. It was a moment of fear for millions of people who lived on Long Island.

Many people from New York, including myself, know someone from a police or fire department that was at Ground Zero. Police and firemen from virtually everywhere were called into Manhattan to clear the debris. Again, I know countless amounts of people who knew someone that ran into the towers to selflessly save lives, only for the towers to fall moments after entering. I also know people who have passed away from breathing in the asbestos from the walls of the towers and contracting Mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. I know firemen whose lungs have to be tested every year due to inhaling harmful air at Ground Zero.

Do not forget today

Remembering 9/11 is of great importance where I live. Virtually every town and village on Long Island has a memorial, commemorating those who lost their lives. A park around the corner from my house was built and named after an influential member of my community who died that day. Every year, there is a candlelight vigil. Many towns have warped pieces of steel from the supports of the tower. It is a quiet and somber day.

When I came to California last year, I felt out of place that day. Maybe it was because it fell on a Saturday last year. Although it was felt nationwide, it is interesting to hear the perspectives of Californians who were so separated from the event. This is not to undermine the suffering felt as a nation. It just felt weird to not be home that day. I was not in school watching a documentary on the event or hearing stories. The memorial service in the city was not a huge deal on television as it usually was.

I understand most people reading this article may have experienced that day one way or another. I have heard stories of people from California about how these tragic events affected their lives. Sept. 11 created a ripple effect in America.

This is why I am imploring you to remember this day. No matter what happened or how you experienced it. Say a prayer. Have a moment of silence. Do whatever feels necessary. But overall, do not forget about today. Do not forget about the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

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