Why I Can #NeverForget

7th grade. Sidney Lanier Middle School. Mr. Maxwell’s Texas History Class on the 2nd floor by the stairwell. Red LMS shirt. Khaki pants. Half pigtails half down. Some kind of mascara. Fashion Fair Foundation. The kind in the gold tube. Blue and white K-Swiss.

“Either there has been a terrible mistake…or someone has declared war on the United States.”

Bell rang. Homeroom. Third floor. Ms. Rote’s class. TVs down. Computers still on…live shot of the Twin Towers at 9 A.M….Servers shut off at 9:03. It wasn’t a mistake.

9:30 – 7th grade is the year all the liver talk starts. Headed to early dismissal because I had a dr’s appointment. Long line of parents checking kids out of school already. Get to car. Daddy tells us to go right home. No doctor. Just home. We don’t know who they’re targeting.

10:00 – Home. Wall to wall coverage. I saw them fall.

September 20, 2001 – President G. W. Bush addresses the nation while I opened birthday presents on my living room floor, my welcome to becoming a teenager.

I cry every time I watch what I saw September 11, 2001 live. It still freaks me out to hear airplanes fly too closely. When life as you know it in a country you love changes 9 days before your 13th birthday, #NeverForget isn’t an instruction to remember. The words, “I will” are implied before.

I can’t forget. That was the day movies became too real. The day that I realized when it happens on the Big Screen that planes crash into buildings, it’s being implied that 2,753 people died. The day that water stopped being OK on the plane. The day that my mom couldn’t watch my plane take off at the gate. The day I started looking at people who looked differently from me in airports funny.

I guess this is why I’m not interested in conspiracy theories. I guess this is why I get so fired up talking about social justice because we focus on mistreating people when…do you know what could happen?? I wake up sad every 9/11 and don’t remember why until I remember. My spirit knows. And will never, ever, ever forget. Love your neighbor, man.

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