September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document

Story:I was a seventeen year old second semester college student on September 11th. Life was great for me - I was passing my classes, living in the dorms 40 something miles away from my parents and had the best time just hanging with my friends.
I woke up that morning wanting to just pull the covers back over my head and pretend like that sun had not even come up yet. (I'm not a morning person-can you tell?) That had become my morning ritual - but like always - class awaited.
I remember walking down the hall of the dorm and stopping at my dorm mothers door to tell her to have a great day. She was watching some news channel and it showed one of the twin towers on fire. My dorm mother said that a plane had flown into it, I was in shock. That's when we saw the second plane fly into the second tower..I screamed and my dorm mother did to. More girls had come out of their rooms and ran down the hall to see what was going on. Why we were screaming and why I had tears rolling down my cheeks. When the news reporters said the attacks were terrorist related, my dorm mom who is a very christian woman and prayed with me every night, said some things I never in my life thought I would hear from her. I was in shock; at her attitude but more at what had happened. I walked across campus confused. I couldn't understand - why would anyone do something so hateful. All of those people, the families and friends. Time stood still or flew by - it just didn't seem to matter right then. I felt helpless. I wanted to be there, to help somehow. I just didn't know how. What I really wanted was for someone to wake me up-to tell me it was only a nightmare.
When I got to class, my always on time professor was not on time. He walked into class looking as though he had walked through hell to get there. He sat down on the stool behind his podium and told us and this I will never forget..."You probably all know what is going on. A very close friend of mine works in the WTC on the top floors. The building that he works in just collapsed and no one has heard from him. I don't want to be here today so class is dismissed." He stood up and walked out. My cell phone started ringing which shook us young adults out of a trance. I answered the phone to hear someone crying on the other end - I was almost in tears but hearing someone else cry pushed me closer to the edge. It was my cousin Jess. I was having a hard time understanding her but I finally got it. She was letting me know that Chase, the cousin that everyone thought was my twin and was my best friend, was supposed to be on the plane that crashed into the WTC and no one had heard from him. What happened next was somewhat hazy - when she told me I felt as if I couldn't breath, I collapsed on the floor, I had no legs, no logical thought. I was screaming 'NO' over and over and crying. I told her she was lying. But I knew it was true.. he had left me a voicemail and told me he was taking a trip and that he would call me when he got back.
Some friends and people that I didn't know helped me get back to my dorm where my dorm sisters took care of me. They sat with me in my dorm room and tried to comfort me while we watched everything on t.v. I cried all day, my cousin, my best friend was gone. Time didn't matter, I didn't care. I thought of all the kids who lost their mommies and daddies, cousins who lost cousins, and siblings whose other siblings won't be coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas anymore. My professor looked like he had walked through hell and now I was following him walking through the same hell and knowing that we weren't alone didn't help. I cried not just for me and my family, I cried for all the families, friends, and any American dead or alive.
But I was one of the lucky ones. That afternoon, I got a call from my cousin, not just a cousin but Chase.. my twin cousin.. he had switched his flights and didn't get on the plane. I cried then because I was so glad he was still alive. He was crying to... he felt guitly because he felt as if he was supposed to be on that flight, he felt guilty because he was glad he was alive. I felt guilty because I was glad that he was alive.
My dad came and picked me up after I heard from Chase. He told me there was probably going to be a war and said that it wasn't over. He was right, my cousin Bray is in the Navy, and was on one of the first ships to reach Afghanistan. The nightmare wasn't over. I spent that night with my ENTIRE family. Praying and cryng. That day brought us closer.
I still don't understand why that day ever had to happen and I will never say that I'm glad it did. I always told my little sister that something good always happens after something bad. There are so many words to describe what 9-11 was.. a tragedy, stupidity, bad, horrible, sad, traumatizing, ... but it made Americans unite. On that day, a persons color didn't matter, we were all one color. A persons beliefs didn't matter, we all believed the same thing. No one had different thoughts - Americans as a group felt the confusion, the shock, the trauma, and the loss. WE ALL felt the anger, the hate, the need for revenge.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. I will stand behind our leader, The President. And when is the killing going to end? Peace is to easy and in many ways we feel peace and contentment in our lives - but there will always be the one person in the world who gaines power and feels greed, whose heart will fill with anger and hatred like a jealous child and who will seek to do harm.
But on September 11th, 2001, through the horror and devastating events, the result was a united front, billions of independent hearts and souls becoming one, a nation together fighting for justice.


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