Remembering 9/11 differently

By Frankie Barbato, Blog Editor

“Raise your hand if your dad works in New Jersey,” said my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Stein. While sitting in the back of the class I kept my hand down for this first question; I wondered where she could possibly be going with this game we were playing.

“Now raise your hand if your mom works in New Jersey,” she said, and hands went up. “Whose dad works in Pennsylvania? How about your mom? Raise your hand if your mom or your dad works in New York City,” asked Mrs. Stein, but for this question she carefully counted and wrote down the results.

Every new hand that went up was met with a worrisome glance from Mrs. Stein. And as the last nine year old finally figured out where his parents worked, she stood motionless, staring at the number she had written on her pad. Right after, she told a kid in my class to go straight to the office and hand in the results.

Sitting in class on Sept. 11, 2001, my fourth grade self did not completely understand the severity of what was going on that morning. When I got home from school that day, my mom told me that something bad had happened but that my dad, who worked near the Twin Towers, was okay. That whole afternoon, and into the night, my entire neighborhood, family friends and relatives came together to watch the news stations report on the tragedies that morning. Since we’re all from New Jersey, we all knew someone who was affected by the attacks.

Ten years later, sitting in my HI152 class last fall, my professor brought up 9/11 during one of our more current event discussions. She went around the room asking for students to recall where they were that day, what their parents told them about the attacks and how their elementary school self perceived the severity of the situation.

What confused me the most however, was the different responses students gave about their memories, depending on where in the country they grew up. For me, every other fourth grader in that class 11 years ago had a parent, an uncle, a neighbor or someone who was affected by the attacks. Everyone knew someone. Today, all my friends from home remember exactly where they were on 9/11, and can recall the entire events of their day with exact detail.

But some Boston University students cannot.

I distinctly recall during my history class, a girl from California who said that her parents didn’t talk to her about it at all. To her, the attacks just didn’t mean as much. She understood how tragic of an event that morning was for America, but she lacked that personal connection to the day.

My elementary school in New Jersey had a moment of silence to remember 9/11 this morning. Sitting in my upper level political science class right now, my professor has yet to even bring up the topic.

I guess 11 years later, I finally understand that memories of Sept. 11, 2001 mean a lot more for some people than they do for others.

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