Tuesday Sept. 11 2001 had started out for me like any regular day at school. I was 15 then, and a grade 10 student when New York City, and more extensively, the world, broke into panic.
I, like the rest of my classmates watched in horror as the second plane hit the towers.
Agape and confused, no one knew what else to do as they sifted through emotion.
How could anyone describe what had just happened and what was coming next? Jaw dropped, the images of the attacks were too hard to seem real.
The only detail which escapes me now about that day is who announced the tragedy to our class first. Frightfully enough, we were in the middle of a history lesson when the entire school was put on pause.
Moments before, everything else in our routines came to a screeching halt as our teacher put down the chalk, walked away from the blackboard and headed towards the back of our classroom to turn on the television, scouring for reports.
Now, after two wars, more casualties, global policy changes and countless articles written on the subject, I remain attuned to (and a bit surprised by) how the events of 9/11 are continuing to change the world. In a way then, it seems I am just adding to the abyss by throwing in my own thoughts here. But when put in another, it would be difficult not to, as the whole world was shook by the enormous tragedy.
Years later, on the third anniversary, I was preparing myself for college and university applications when the school of my dreams asked of me on my admissions essay: What is an example of news that has changed your view on the world and why?
Originally written as a grade 12 student (2004), my writing from this time is a classic example of the juxtaposition of a teenager and budding reporter. While there is some part of me that is reluctant to leak out some of my former teenage flair, I think this passage shows my respect for history and interest in social policy:
The events of September 11, 2001 shook the entire world. While the events in history are permanent, the laws continue to change. Animosity between various ethnic groups spread, and worst of all countless lives crumbled away with the fall of the Towers. From a journalistic perspective, these attacks will remain a mark to people of my generation. When the War on Terrorism broke out and Bill C-36 of the Anti-Terrorism Act passed, the intention of the government was to make people all over North America, and certainly people of all democratic societies, feel safer. However, this is not necessarily true. If I thought the events themselves were devastating, the aftermath is much worse. The events have taught young people to fear diversity. Also, it has created a whole new definition for the term terrorism. Through this experience, I have also learned sometimes it takes more patience than perseverance for justice to be served, especially in representing equality for all parties of the story.
For all of the victims and heroes of 9/11, your memory will never be forgotten.
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