Teen Tales: The Fear and Strength We Take from Tragedies

Sep 12, 2011

On September 11, 2001, I was a 17-year-old senior in high school. When I got to school that day, friends asked if I had heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center. What a tragic accident, I thought.

For my first class of the day, I tutored students with special needs. When the teacher turned on the TV in the corner, all work was forgotten. I still remember the fear that tightened my stomach when the words "terrorist attack" were mentioned. Someone had done this on purpose. I could hardly understand how anyone could be so evil.

Jacob, the student I was tutoring, started fidgeting, confused by the changes to his schedule and the images on TV. I explained that bad people had crashed airplanes into buildings in New York. He cocked his head, a puzzled look on his face.

"Why?" he asked.

Why indeed.

In my journal a few days later, terrified of the just-announced "war on terror," I wrote, "This is not pretend. This is not a game. This is not something that will end quickly. This is not a movie. This is my life. It is fear, and anger, and grief. But most of all, it is real. And now, all I can do is be American, be brave, be strong, and always, always be close to God."

Yes, I was afraid, like so many people. I was only 17, and I lived a happy, simple life untouched by tragedy before that day. September 11th taught me what fear meant. But it also taught me to be strong in the face of it. It taught me that the only thing I can do when fear strikes is to fall to it or fight it.

So, my friends, in life and in literature, let tragedy teach us to take be brave in the face of fear. May God bless America, and the victims and families affected by the attacks of September 11, 2001.


BK Mattingly said...

I don't think anyone who lived through that day will forget it. I know it changed what I thought about the world in a very real way. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

Abby Fowers said...

This is beautiful Shallee and so true. It was a life changing moment for all of us, but I think it made us stronger and it made me more proud to be an American.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

What a beautiful post, Shallee. I remember everything about that day. Still.
And I watched a lot of beautiful programs and tributes on t.v. yesterday. I wish we could all stand together like that everyday. You know?

Jessie Humphries said...

Wow, you were 17 on 9/11? Its funny how we will never forget where we were when it happened. I was in Paris, and wasnt allowed to leave my apartment for a week.

Jenny S. Morris said...

Thanks for sharing. My husband and I talked a lot about being brave in the face of fear, and passing that on to our children.

Ruth Josse said...

Well said, Shallee. There is no point to fear unless we push against it.

S. L. Hennessy said...

This was really beautiful...and I think it's wonderful that bloggers across the nation are taking the time to remember what happened ten years ago. I wrote a blog yesterday about being a junior in high school when I heard the news. Thanks for sharing your story.
- http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Great words. It's not an easy thing to explain, is it. It just seems so unbelievable.

Rachna Chhabria said...

None of us will forget that day. Its firmly etched into our memories.

Jess said...

I think I was four years old, but I still remember. We lived in PA back then and it was scary because we lived in a tall apartment building and we didn't know if there were any other planes coming! I remember seeing the picture on TV and not understanding what was going on and why my mom was so worried.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

HI, Shallee, There's a book out (I mentioned it on my post, because Renee Hand interviewed the author on her radio show. It's called My Birthday Is on September 11.)

I also left you an award on my blog -- The Versatile Blogger Award. Stop by and pick it up.

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