This I Believe

Samantha - Apex, North Carolina
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: fear

People think that I don’t have any real opinions about what is going on in the world because I am only 16. And the truth is, politics isn’t something that I pay attention to. It’s my experiences, the events I have lived through, that I truly feel connected to. The day 9-11-01 is an experience I am connected to.

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 will go down in history. The tragedy of the day will live on for many years, maybe even till the end of time. The horror of that day has left a permanent scar in my life. I can remember the classroom I was in, the people sitting around me, the picture on the screen, everything that was going on when I heard about what happened. I can even remember sitting at the lunch talking about it with my friends and thinking “I don’t care”. The realization of what happened didn’t hit me until the end of the day. Once I knew what happened, I was ashamed of my earlier feelings.

I feel sorry for the people who lost friends and family during that day. I cannot put myself in their position, but I know what I took from that day. I was filled with fear. I realized that the world was not perfect. I learned the truth that even though I live comfortably in America, the land of opportunity, not everyone else does. I mean, America is supposed to be perfect, bad things aren’t supposed to happen here, but that’s not reality. I was filled with fear because I saw that all the things bad that you think can’t happen to you really can.

Afterwards the government started to buckle down on security. And the truth is, that I feel even more scared when I see all of it. I know that it is for everyone’s safety, but when I see someone being searched or I hear the sound of the metal detector going off, it’s as if someone is screaming “terrorist”.

Others must be able to see the fear inside of me. My father travels for his job and every year since 9/11 he asks me if it is okay if he travels on this day. I don’t know if something like this will ever happen again, but I still won’t let him travel. It’s almost as if saying yes would be saying good-bye.

I feel connected to that day because I was alive, and I was somewhere watching. When I see those three numbers put in that order 9-1-1, I get flashbacks to that very day. I may have only been in the sixth grade when it happened, but I was old enough to know that many things in the world would change. I’m 16 and I believe that the tragedy of 9/11 has brought the reality of fear into the world.