September 11 Digital Archive

D. Hinkofer, Account


D. Hinkofer, Account

How has your life changed because of what happened on September 11, 2001?

God has such an interesting way of bringing things about.

So today I’m relaxing, loving life and being thankful. But I got this weird impulse. Many of you might be familiar with it. It’s kind of a macabre, morbid curiosity that comes about and entices you to look up disasters from the past, watch police chase videos and car crash compilations on YouTube.

Well, today it was 9/11.

Before I go any further, I found a vast and invaluable digital archive of everything from text accounts to audio records. You can find it here;

This event is still so recent in many of our minds. That macabre interest turned into horror and sadness for me very quickly. Realizing as I listen to eyewitness accounts, I know exactly where I was as all of it happened. There were a few things that upset me about it, though I was very young.

I was 8 when 9/11 occurred, but my memory of it is quite clear and articulate. I was in 3rd grade, Ms. Hamilton’s class at Watkins Memorial Elementary. It was in her class that I also witnessed our first pictures transmitted from Mars’ surface. I digress. The day had scarcely begun before it all seemed to... end? End isn’t the right word. Things kept moving, we kept changing classes and moving through our day as we normally had, but none of the classes were actually anything but sitting and watching the news.

I’ll never forget that it was in those classrooms that I witnessed what true horror looked like on the faces of my teachers. I remember looking at the TV and knowing it was real, but thinking that somehow it couldn’t be. But it had to be. That was Fox News. My parents watch Fox News. They don’t joke around about these things. I remember thinking how “that’s the building my dad got his picture taken on top of, the one I really want to go see”.

Then I remember my art teacher gasping as the first tower fell, and having the thought “I literally just saw thousands die”. I was only 8 years old, but it hurt me somewhere at my core. I remember that sorrow turned to rage when my classmate, a certain Austin P., laughed and said “Hahaha! I hope the second tower falls!”

Nobody said anything to him about that except me. “Those are real people, dude! This isn’t a movie!”

“So?” Was his apathetic reply.

When the second tower fell, He exclaimed “Awesome!” And I swear it took everything I had in me to keep from punching him in the mouth. I was 8. Seriously. Think about that. So many parents dismiss their kids’ bad behavior because of their age, but I was 8 and I knew that was wrong. There’s no reason he didn’t know that, right? That’s probably the thing that upset me most about that day, and it’s irked me ever since. How can a person laugh at other people’s plight like that? How can a living soul that experiences pain, sadness, fear and general emotion look upon other living souls that experience those feelings and derive pleasure from it?

I haven’t kept up with that boy. Never once have I tried to look him up. I hope he’s changed, but something tells me that kind of sadism doesn’t just disappear with age. Something tells me he wouldn’t be the kind of person I want in my life.

Anyways, I’ll never forget 9/11. It was the day I realized that life is a gift. It’s the day I learned that every day is uncertain, and it’s the day I learned that not all humans have our best interest at heart. I learned what a challenge it truly meant when Jesus said “Love your enemies”, because... well.

How do you love people who kill thousands of innocents? Probably the more realistic challenge is figuring out how do I love this boy who laughs as he watches thousands die on live television? How do I turn the tide of evil in a mind like that?

These and many other questions ought to populate our brightest minds alongside the questions of how to stabilize the economy, reverse climate change and create sustainable forms of energy.

My heart goes out to the victims and families of victims from 9/11. If my experience sucked, I can’t imagine what you experienced. It’s been almost 18 years. I was 8 years old. I still remember it in painful clarity. You are not alone.

#September11 #YouAreNotForgotten

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“D. Hinkofer, Account,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed May 27, 2024,