Still Hurts After All These Years

It was a nice September morning. Just like every other day recently, I had left early to go to school because the bus I took would actually stop in front of the building. Not that I was too lazy to walk the extra blocks, I just preferred to not have to walk as far when I was carrying around a ton of law books. I also had a study group that morning so I wanted to review notes and cases before.

Like other mornings, I went to the student lounge and was reviewing stuff while I was also watching the tv. It was usually on in the lounge tuned to a news station. As I was sitting in the lounge, a few other students were also in there and then more eventually came in. Soon, we were all glued to the tv watching the Today show. There were plumes of black smoke on the screen and the news ticker saying planes had flown into the World Trade Center. 

I was numb. Wondering what the actual was happening. And why. At first  you think this must be some sort of joke. But nope, turns out it wasn’t. Next thing I knew, the lounge was crowded with lots of students and I soon left because everyone in my study group was there and we kind of wanted to get away.

We met with our TA and all decided today was not a day for us to be studying things about contracts. Our country was under attack and we needed to find out what was going on. The day was September 11, 2001, my first year of law school. I was worried about friends in NYC. I was also wondering if my little sister was there. She had planned to move there and I didn’t know if she had been on a scouting mission and was there. Right then.

I started making phone calls to my family to see if my sister was around. I got in touch with my Grandmother and learned that my sister was in our home town and far away from all the damage that was happening. Some of my friends and classmates were unable to get in touch with their friends and family. School was a zoo with everyone making calls and panicking due to not getting in touch with people.

Eventually, everyone made it to the contracts classroom. Of course, no one was interested in actually doing anything that day. We were all checking email, making calls and wondering if or better when classes would officially be canceled. It wasn’t like anyone would pay attention to a lecture anyways.

Finally the announcement was made that classes were canceled. Public transit was running like it was rush hour again. By this time, a couple of hours had passed and normally the CTA, Metra and Pace in the Chicagoland area would have been on non-rush hour schedules. However, everyone was leaving the Loop to get home friends and loved ones.

It wasn’t going to be much of a walk for me to get to the CTA train I would take to go home. But it was probably one of, if not the scariest few blocks I had ever walked. I had to walk past the Sears Tower. Even though by this time, air traffic had already been halted, I just didn’t know if something was going to happen. The Sears Tower is a huge building and a perfect place to destroy if that is what you are up to. While people were leaving the Loop in droves, it was still eerily quiet.

I did eventually make it home. When I got there, all I could do was just sit and sob. My world had been changed forever. Just the past spring I had been in NYC with my students when I was still a teacher. I couldn’t imagine what school would I have been teaching instead of working on getting my law degree. In the next few days, I was glued to the tv and radio to get information about what happened.

Eventually, I along with the rest of the nation started to heal from what happened on that Tuesday morning that had begun just like any other day. Little did we know. In the years that have followed, I have always felt a pang of hurt on September 11th. This year, with it being the 10th anniversary of that awful day somehow seems more so.

Maybe it is because of the things that happened in the week leading up to it. There were all the tv specials this week. Then of course, the KHL hockey team that died in a plane crash. Lastly, finding out a friend’s mother was diagnosed with lymphoma. All of those things led to an emotionally draining week. It probably didn’t thing any in that today on September 11, 2011, the weather and skies this morning were eerily similar to what happened 10 year ago.

Though it has been 10 years, it still hurts how much life has changed since that awful day. There are some things that I don’t know any other way than how they are now. Before 9/11, I had never flown in an airplane. In fact, my first flight was in 2003 when I flew to NYC for a moot court competition. Even though flying is annoying due to all of the security that we have to endure, I am willing to put up with it if it means that we will never have to experience another Tuesday morning again.

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