15 Years

Has it really been 15 years? 15 years since I got on a computer after class at Harlaxton and chatted with a friend back in the States who told me a plane had hit the Twin Towers. She had to go to class and logged off, so I went back to my room, not thinking anything of it. Both of us assumed it was a freak accident, certainly not intentional.

Has it been 15 years since the dean then knocked on my door, telling me a plane had hit the tower? I was confused about why she was telling me this and simply said, “I know.” She was confused why I wasn’t freaking out and told me it was on the television downstairs. So I went.

15 years ago, I watched the second plane hit in disbelief. The few of us in the common room tried joking because we couldn’t take in what was happening. We couldn’t process it, and I knew if I did, I’d cry and I didn’t want to cry in front of others.

Then there was the one that hit the Pentagon. Has it been 15 years since that happened? I knew my parents were in D.C., and my brother works near the city. I didn’t know how to get in touch with them. My sister was in FL, wondering about them and about me, overseas for the first time. I’d only just arrived in the UK a few weeks before.

15 years ago, everything changed. When I flew to the UK, my parents went to the gate with me, I had my knitting in my carry-on bag, I wore my Heelys through the security check-point, I didn’t have to take my computer out of the bag. When I came back, only 4 months later, I couldn’t wear my shoes, I had to take out and turn on my computer, I couldn’t take my knitting needles in the carry-on, I had to take off my shoes. When I arrived, my parents weren’t at the gate, and I didn’t understand, because I didn’t know they were no longer allowed to go back to the gate to meet me.

For the past 15 years, we’ve been at war, and heightened security levels. Everything has changed. I mourn for those killed on 9/11, and all those after. Never forget.

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