By Katie Jordan
BRISTOL, Connecticut — (September 11, 2001) I first heard about it at lunch.
A friend of mine came up to me as I was about to sit at one of the tables. She asked if I’d heard what happened, and I said I hadn’t.
I guess I didn’t really comprehend what had happened. I’d heard the words, but the concept just wasn’t getting through. If it had I would have been taken aback, would have said or done something. But I didn’t.
I just clicked back to my normal routine and forgot all about it as I told my friends some of the interesting events of my day.
Even as my English teacher tried to scrape together some more details for us, I sat there, totally oblivious to what was going on. We all went along with the regular old agenda, the regular old stuff. Hand in this, read that, you know.
We’ve all been told by some adult or another how they felt when they heard about Pearl Harbor or Kennedy’s assassination. We’ve heard them explain what was going through their minds, and we’ve seen the far away looks on their faces as they remember.
But we’ve never really completely understood what it was like. We never thought we’d experience something like that. And even as it was happening, it still seemed so surreal.
Then, in World History, I was watching the news coverage on the TV as others around me chatted and giggled while the teacher was out of the room.
And as I watched a building collapse in a cloud of ash, as I watched innocent people run for their lives, it finally hit me.
Tens of thousands of people died today.
That means tens of thousands of families are waiting desperately for some hope that tens of thousands of loved ones will be home soon, safe and sound.
And they won’t.
All because someone wanted to make an impression. We don’t even know who it was or what cause they were willing to die — and kill — for. We don’t know why this happened. All we know is that people are dead and lives will never be the same.
And as I sat there, with this cold, horrible truth sinking in, the people around me were still chatting and giggling.
And that was the part that scared me worst of all.
This piece from Youth Journalism International’s archives was originally published on Sept. 11, 2001.