Guest Columnist: A day I will remember

Celia Fernandez

Thirteen years ago, I was a third grader at Public School 152 in New York City. It was early in the morning when our teacher told us that our parents were going to pick us up early and we would be going home soon. Lucky for me, I only lived five minutes away from my school. My mom sent her assistant at the time to pick me up because she was working. When I got home, my mom had the news on in the kitchen and I walked over just in time to see the second airplane crash into the second tower of the World Trade Center. I didn’t realize it, but before I knew it, I had tears running down my face. I am very fortunate that I didn’t lose anyone that day, but I still felt like all those innocent people on that plane were my family.   

The whole city shut down that day. People had to walk home because the subway was closed and driving wasn’t even worth the hassle. My dad, who worked in the Upper West Side at the time, had to bike about seven miles to make it all the way back to our apartment. Before Sept. 11, I never understood why other people would want to kill thousands of innocent civilians, but that same day, it hit me that the United States has enemies all around the world. It’s crazy to me that at such a young age I realized not everyone is a nice person and there are people in the world who want to hurt us just because we are Americans.  

The Sept. 11 attacks are something that no one will ever forget, and it is a day that will forever affect our lives. Tighter security became a must everywhere that was deemed a potential target for terrorists. “Big Brother” was in full effect after that. There were more cameras in all the train stations and now you can’t even cross the street without noticing at least one camera on a light pole. New York City has come a long way since that tragic day. Now we have a memorial that will forever commemorate the lives of the ones we lost.

The memorial is a place that, even among all the chaos that surrounds New York City, anyone can go to and find peace. It is place that makes me proud to be a New Yorker because even after everything, we were able to move forward and come out on the other side.

This country is stronger after the attacks of Sept. 11. I don’t want to say that is something that should have happened because no one deserves to die the way those people did, but it is something that allowed, not only the city of New York, but the whole world to become stronger and more aware of those that want to hurt us.

Every year on Sept. 11, I take a moment to remember those that we lost and appreciate who I have in my life because there are others who will grow up without fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents because a group of terrorists decided to take them away one fateful morning 13 years ago, today.

Celia Fernandez is a senior news major. Contact her at [email protected].