9/11 – “We Will Not Forget September 11, 2001”


(music playing) I remember,
it was 10 years ago, I was in second grade,
and I’m now a senior, I remember the event, 9-11. The teacher’s had ushered us into a classroom to look at a TV of an airplane hitting a building. And we saw
people crying and upset, and I didn’t understand why
at the time. I have to admit life
has changed significantly in the last 10 years. Let’s take a look and see
what’s been happening, what’s changed today. 10 years ago
on September 11th 2001, a group of terrorist
called Al Qaeda was an extremist group
who was led by Osama bin Laden. These terrorists were ordered
to fly to America and carry out a plan involving hitting four buildings at the same time. It was a clear morning
on September 11th. There were between
16,000 to 18,000 people who were working
or in the World Trade Center. The World Trade Center
wasn’t just one building, it was seven buildings. With a very large plaza,
with an underground building. It was a mall where people
were shopping. But the most impressive
were the twin towers. The twin towers that stood tall, 110 stories high. On that day, it was
a perfect day, a nice day. People had come to work
and were going to school and mulling about. There are people in-line
at the airport purchasing tickets, but no one knew that there were also 19 terrorists present. They were not noted. The planes flew out. And around 8:46 AM, the first of four flights would hit one of the twin towers. (music playing) The second plane would soon hit the second tower and cause it to crumble. As I watched,
I saw one of the towers have smoke coming from it. And I thought something
has gone wrong, something had been hit. It looked bad. Within a few minutes, I saw smoke coming out
of the second tower. I was working
at RIT in food service at that time, and I had been preparing food. And there were many
of my coworkers who had started running around and crying
and being upset. I didn’t know what was going on. As a deaf person
among all hearing people, I was just kind of just
isolated myself there. When all of a sudden,
my boss comes up and said, “I need to speak to you in private.” So I followed my boss
to see what’s going on and she shows me a TV screen. And I am just shocked,
it was the World Trade Center, they look like they were
ready to collapse. I immediate thought–
My family. I’m originally from New Jersey, and I have many family
and friends who are in New York City. So when I saw this,
I was speechless. I was dumbfounded.
I froze. I started calling
my mother and my father. and calling everybody
I could reach, everyone who I knew
in New Jersey to see what was going on,
if they were okay. As the tower stood
110 stories high, a plane crashes into it. The gas ignites an explosion, engulfing it in fire. The foundation
and the trusses are weak. The building crumbles. And it leaves behind
17 floors of wreckage. I remember– I remember the awful
feeling inside as you watched the towers crumbling. The fear of what was happening to all those people. And then,
for weeks and weeks to follow, after 9/11, watching on TV
and learning of the families, and the children
and the parents, and really grieving. The morning, 9:37 am, the third airplane,
Flight 77, would depart to the Pentagon
in Washington, DC. The people on the plane
would all die including 125 people who were
in the Pentagon as well. There are two things as I recall
that hit me the most about 9/11. One was where I was. At that time,
I was at Gallaudet University, in 2001. And I recall seeing
the plane coming down and hitting the Pentagon. You could see the smoke
from our dorm. And at that time
I started thinking, is it safe in DC,
is it safe New York. And we had just watched live
the twin towers crumble on TV. So that really hit me. The second thing
that really impacted me was what was going on
with everybody. My family grew up in New York. It was very close to home.
The hit was very close to home. And I thought that can never happen in America, we’re safe here. And I appreciate where we’ve
come from that. That experience
has made us closer, more united,
more supportive as a whole. For me, it was very interesting,
a very powerful time of my life. I was working in Virginia,
in the public school, and I was teaching ASL. The Pentagon was just
a stone’s throw away, 30, 40 miles from my school
that I was teaching at. The parents of those students worked for the government, and my student’s parents did as well,
in the Virginia and DC area. And that day
when the planes hit, there were so many
of my students at the school whose parents worked
for the government, were in Washington, DC,
were in Virginia. It was terror and chaos. It was a really amazing
and powerful experience for me. I’m glad that my family is okay but I feel for those people who suffered losses. I was at Gallaudet. I was taking
a life-guarding class. We were in the swimming pool
when one student comes down. We have an area of glass that you can see through so students can be monitored. This one student
says to us in the pool, that a plane had just hit. I’m thinking it’s a small plane,
insignificant as it happens. And as I left class,
I went to the library, to the Center. And they’re all watching TV. And as I see,
sure enough, the whole class is talking about what’s happening. It was– You can see the smoke coming from the Pentagon. We didn’t know
if it was true or not. We didn’t know if it was accidental or terroristic. I will never understand
or be able to explain that fear you experienced
at the Pentagon. I was a junior in high school, maybe a sophomore-junior. And they were talking this state-standardized test. But because I passed the test, they separated out the groups
of kids who’d pass with the group who needed
to continue the test. And all of a sudden,
the teachers bring in this large TV,
and they start telling us that a plane has hit
one of the towers. The second plane
hadn’t hit yet. And we’re watching,
and we see the plane, on the news, hit, and everyone was just kind of shocked. During break time, we wanna mix with all
the students but they’re not allowing it because of
the state-standardized test, they don’t wanna disturb
the testing. So we’re sitting there
and bearing with it, waiting. At lunch time, they decided
to hold the test for the day and let the students know
what happened. The fourth flight,
Flight #93, was 20 minutes from DC. On that flight were terrorists. The terrorists took control
of the plane. And their plan was to crash it into the Whitehouse or the Capitol, in DC. The passengers got wind of it from families and friends over cell phones. They’ve got wind
of what have had happened with the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon. And the damage and deaths
that have already occurred. And they learned that they were going to crash their plane into the government buildings. So the passengers took control. They apprehended the terrorists,
a fight ensued, and the plane crashed
in Western Pennsylvania. The passengers all died.
We thank these heroes. We honor them for saving our lives and lives of innocents. Thank you. I think what really impacts me is the change in our view. Our view on the world
and globalization. I always thought of it
as “us” and “them.” Us and over there. Not realizing how close we are. It made the world a much
smaller place than before. I used to think that
the world was so big, nothing could happen to us. But it happens to everyone. As the plane hit, the world, immediately I thought, would dissolve. And one of the things
that I’ve noticed, that here in Austin, I thought that was gonna be an issue because your president
was a Texas president. I was afraid we were next. And I was afraid that we had
to look to see what other towns would be targeted. It was very scary,
I think it’s something you always have
to be prepared for. People say that if you fight
in the morning, you need to say “I forgive you”
before you leave because you never know
when and what your last words
of the day would be. Sure enough,
before it’s gone. 9/11 was the worst
terroristic attack on America–
In the history of America. 3,000 people were killed
from the 93 nations, 2,753 killed in New York City, 184 were killed at the Pentagon, and 40 were killed on Flight 93. This is a horrible thing,
3,000 innocent people died. That’s very disconcerting. When you look at the people
of the US, the teachers, the workers,
the nurses, the doctors, the police, the firemen, who all came out in droves
in New York City, thousands upon thousands,
to support, to provide clothing to provide food,
to provide money, to provide everything
that they could do to help and what was needed. We also recognize
in America today, here in the US,
just looking around just see the flags in your work, in your schools, everywhere you’ll look
you’ll see displayed, the proud American. My cousin herself
is a paramedic, so she was helping
transport people to New Jersey, to get them out, to get them safe. When I asked my cousin
about her experience, she’ll never speak of it. We never talked about it
to this day if I say, “Can you tell me a little bit about what was going on?” She refuses to talk. 9/11, I was teaching kindergarten, in a public mainstream school with some deaf kids who were mixed in. And when we heard this, we shuffled the kids off
into a private area. And the teachers watched. We watched heartbroken,
in fear, wondering later
how we would explain to these children what had occurred. How would we tell them? Would we tell the truth? Would we keep
parts of it private? It was a very sad time, and we thought about
how it impacts such young kids. And now, those kids, I guess, are 10 or 11. They’re growing up. They’re living
with those life lessons, and that was a tough one. For me, I remember 9/11. I was in second grade. And at that time,
I had no idea what was going on
or what it meant. I saw them talk
about the smoke. But I said, so what? It was later after that,
that my parents talked to me about the history, the cause, what came in to 9-11. And there was one story
that brings goose bumps to me. It was about a man
who is blind, who had a seeing-eye dog,
who helped him. The man was
in his office working. And for no reason whatsoever, ’cause the planes hadn’t hit
the towers yet, the dog felt something
going on. He knew something was happening
related to the airplane. So, dog became to pull the man. He pulled the man trying
to encourage him to come, and the man wouldn’t. And the dog kept
doing this persistently until the man finally
followed him. He got to the elevator. And the man wanted
to get in the elevator, and the dog wouldn’t let him
get on the elevator. And he struggles. The man finally acquiescing he goes down
68th flights of stairs. Can you imagine walking down, this blind man, 68th flights of stairs, flights of stairs
until he gets out? One blind man who’s saved, but that’s just one story. It’s amazing. 9-11 happened 10 years ago. It’s part of our history,
we should remember. But we also need to heal
and move forward. New York City has that feeling. They built the Freedom Tower and the National Museum, the Memorial, The Memorial
which is a waterfall, a waterfall that sinks
in the reverse shape of the towers,
the same place that the towers were engineered. Engineered just like
the twin towers in reverse. It’s a place for people to go,
to relax, to remember, and to move on. And as you look, people feel relieved. Today, on the 10th anniversary, it’s healthy for us
to stop and to appreciate all of the freedoms
that we have. Freedoms we have here. And we have to understand
where our nation, the United States of America, had to fight for our protection and our safeties. So, for today, let’s forget the terrorists, and all of the negativity
that was focused. And let’s look at the positives and cherish our U.S.A. All of the soldiers
that have fought to protect our rights. Thank you. As I look back 10 years ago, it was a horrible event. We will never forget 9/11. We must honor
those who have died. And we must honor those people who have worked to keep America moving forward
with the right spirit.

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