I remember waking up on the morning of September 11, 2001 not knowing what was going on in New York. I didn’t watch TV in the morning. I was just rushing to get ready to go to school.
As my dad drove me to my school, he loved to listen to his Chinese radio new station. They were talking about the planes crashing but because it wasn’t an English station, what they portrayed didn’t make it seem like a big deal. The magnitude of this event didn’t hit me.
It wasn’t until I got into class and the teacher just flipped on his radio and we sat and just listened through the entire period. I was trying to make sense out of this but I couldn’t. I hadn’t yet seen footage on the television. I was just hearing all about it and it was hard for me to understand.
During break between periods, I went to another classroom that had the television on and we just watched the aftermath of the buildings burning in flames. Then, one of the towers went down. It was unreal.
I realized that this was a big deal but because this was the first ever major event that happened in my lifetime that involved something like, I didn’t know how I was supposed to act. Was I supposed to be scared or worried? I wasn’t sure.
Through the days following I teared up when I saw memorial services and all the other things they showed on television about lost lives from the attack. It was hard to really try to wrap my mind around the magnitude of this. What are we going to do now?
It wasn’t until the Monday Night Football game that it finally hit me. As the Packers were introduced, Chris Gizzi led his team onto the field carrying the American flag. It was right at that moment that my eyes watered and I knew that after all this, we were back. This country was stronger than the enemies had imagined.
The fact that we returned to sports and we also encouraged Americans to open up shops and continue living told me that we were going to be able to bounce back from this. And for me, that realization came thanks to Gizzi and the efforts to bring back normalcy.
Now 11 years later I think back to what happened then and where we are now. We’ve grown as a country and we’re stronger than ever. It saddens me how it happened and how many people lost lives. But I did learn that we are a strong country and we’re going to continue to move forward.