[Serious] 9/11 Megathread

I was 7 years old, in second grade. My mom came to wake my little brother and I up for school and everything seemed fine--she didn't sound or appear worried. I went to shower in the bathroom and noticed that the rug by the shower and the carpet in front of the vanities were soaking wet and my mom's make-up was everywhere which was strange; my mother is very tidy and never leaves a mess behind her.

I showered and went to the kitchen to eat breakfast. She made my brother and I chocolate chip pancakes which she normally only does on our birthdays, so I was excited, but I could see something was wrong in her eyes. The TV and radio were off and she always had the news on when we woke up. She was still in her night gown which I didn't think much of since she worked from home at this point in my childhood. But with the bathroom left a mess, the special breakfast and the TV off, I asked her what was wrong. My little brother was still getting dressed, but she glanced up stairs just to double check. She sat by me at the kitchen table with her hands holding my face and she began to shed a few tears. She began talking to me in that soft, maternal voice and said, "Honey, some bad people took over a plane and it crashed." I immediately felt sorrow for the people on the plane, not knowing the full extent of what had happened. I asked if everything was going to be okay and she told me we're fine, but that those bad people wanted to hurt people in our country.

At that age, I didn't know terrorism, I didn't understand politics, I couldn't wrap my head around why that would happen. She kissed my forehead and told me she loved me and that she'll "never let anything bad happen to me." She sent me off to school with our neighbor who had a daughter my age like we did every school day. She had the radio on and this is when I got the rest of the story--the planes hitting the towers, the hijackings, America on lock down. She was quiet the entire time until we got to school and she said to have a good day.

When we got to school, the morning announcements went as usual, until at the end our principal came on the intercom and we had a moment of silence. I looked around at my classmates and everyone had the same demeanor; we all knew something was wrong, but we didn't know the extent of it, only our parents' reactions. I distinctly remember my teacher was very soft-spoken that day and much more patient than usual.

Last fall when I was home on break, I asked my parents about that day, about the wet carpet in the bathroom and the chocolate chip pancakes.

My mom said dad had called her three times while she was in the shower, so she jumped out to pick up the phone. She had a towel on and was standing in front of the vanity when my dad had told her what happened. She said she broke down, her legs gave out and she spent a few minutes sobbing on the bathroom floor. She tried putting on her make-up but couldn't do it and left everything out on the counter to put her night gown back on. She made my brother and I the pancakes because it was one of those moments where she realized how precious and delicate both life and safety are; she wanted to treat us while America was under attack and didn't know when the ordeal would stop.

My dad said he heard it on the radio on the way to work and started shaking. He pulled over on the freeway, put his head on the steering wheel and started to sob. He looked up to wipe his eyes and saw that close to 20 other cars had done the same thing--some were out of their cars, heads on their hoods, crying, pounding their fists. He says its still the most human moment he'd ever witnessed even to this day.

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