I truly remember the disbelief as a student informed me of the crazy scene unfolding before us, I was an educator at Penn Hills High School, a student told me something unbelievable and there we all were, a class new to each other and silent together processing the disbelief of 911 on the screen. The rest of the day, and to be honest, that year, was almost a state of delirium even to this day.
A year later, working as a transcriber at U.S. Investigations, I remember observing September 11th and also realizing inside how real and instant the feelings felt even several years after this event.
Even later, having the privilege to travel to New York every year and implementing a self-made project on the streets with students, we interviewed fire fighters, average citizens, even photographers that captured that moment and managed to preserve those interviews digitally. I still have those interviews and to listen to them still haunts me today with awe of the pain, the courage, and the sheer emotion that so many reciprocating events could have. I remember the smell of the concrete dust a mere two years after this event and as strong as this just happening the day before. We had the privilege of meeting and talking with Michael Arad, the explanation of this memorial instilled in our very hearts. (page 32-33 of this issue of Focus).
Here I am today, in a surreal and inspiring location I did not think I wold be in, and yet, the stories that occurred over 16 years ago touching our very hearts to the core. Students that were barely born, affected by the very story presented today and stories that are passed down from this so distant event, in relation to their young lives. America has many amazing stories that affect so many individuals, not just individuals that were born and raised in the United States, but from every corner of the earth that come together in both tragedy and achievement. There are so many lessons to be learned from tragedy and overcoming tragedy, washed in so many ethnic and cultural influences, that these lessons were never meant to be forgotten for countless reasons.