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No 9/11 For Me

It's the seventh anniversary of the September 11th terrorists attacks. People across America are commemorating this solemn occasion, and it's all over the news. It's not something I look forward to.

I was in living in New York at that time. Since I worked the graveyard shift, I was already home when those idiots decided to fly those planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. It was the one time I was grateful for my crazy hours.

The experience was so surreal that I didn't even realize how serious it was. It looked like a really bad movie as I watched it on TV. Even though I saw the towers collapse before my eyes, I didn't realize the gravity of the situation until a friend from Georgia called to find out if I was alright.

My family in Texas was worried, but I had already spoken to my mom and she let everyone know that I was okay. Since the Towers had so many cell phone towers on them, a lot of calls weren't able to come through.

Even though I was tired, I couldn't tear myself away from the news coverage. I finally went to sleep, but I couldn't rest. Visions of what I'd seen kept playing in my head. I didn't go to work that night.

When I ventured out to work the next evening, my city looked like a ghost town. The World Trade Center was in the Financial District, but the air on the Upper West Side was thick and smoky. To get to my job, I had to walk past a fire station and the Red Cross. With all the tributes and pictures of those who hadn't been found, it was the saddest two blocks I'd ever walked. My sadness quickly turned to fear when I reached the job and realized that there were sharp shooters on the roof. They were there to guard the energy plant across the street.

The city itself seemed crippled, wounded. New Yorkers are known for their resilience, but the terrorists attacks touched even the hardest of the hard. Riding the train, always a source of entertainment, became a somber affair. The train stations became places where people would post pictures of their missing loved ones. The Times Square stop was the worst. In addition to pictures, there were candles and all kinds of tributes.

In the days following the tragedy, I stayed glued to the news during my waking hours, and in the overnights, my newsroom job meant I got to see stories that never made it to a newscast. My emotions were raw, and I cried all the time. The only thing that made me turn off the TV was when I heard the tears in a reporter's voice. To this day, I don't watch the news like I used to.

While I didn't lose anyone I loved in the tragedy, I lost my sense of innocence. Never again can I feel completely safe in my previously untouched country. And while we fight the war on terror on foreign soil, I know that our enemy is already here and waiting for another chance.

I know it's customary for us to remember the past, but with all due respect to those who are still mourning their loved ones, I don't want to. I lived it once, and I'd really rather not relive the moment my world came crashing down along with those towers again.


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