I was 4,791 km away when it happened.
I was getting ready for school when my parents called me out to the living room, the TV was playing back the plane hitting the first tower. I thought to myself, completely oblivious of what it all meant: ‘I’ll have a news update to share in my class today!’ I was in Grade 5. I wasn’t the only kid in class that was ready to share that bit of news.
It would take me nearly a decade to fully understand what happened that day, and how it changed the course of lives all over the world. I was 4,791 km from Ground Zero the day the Twin Towers fell. I’m Canadian, without any American-born relatives. Other than the fact that I enjoy going to the States for vacations with friends or to go for a shopping trip, I have no real ties to the country. So, why do I ache for those who lost someone, for those who witnessed the horrific event, and for those whose entire lives would change because of it?
It may be easy for some people, especially if they have no connection to 9/11, to turn a blind eye from it 13 years later; maybe because there are so many other innocent lives that are taken daily all around the world. But I’m not here to compare one tragic event to another.To me, this hits as if it happened in my own country, or city. It hits me as if it was my sister, or mother or father who was lost that day, because it could have been me. But in reality it wasn’t, yet my heart still hurts. When I read the stories of those who have to relive hearing their husband, daughter, brother’s voice for the last time, it makes me feel like I’ve lost someone, too. Even though they’ll never know, I too mourn with them. I guess that’s what it means to be human: To feel something even though it may not have a direct impact on you.
It’s a sombre day for many, and others it’s just another day. For me, it will always be a day to remember.