Let me pause from the normal focus of this blog to remember the tragedies that befell upon our nation ten years ago. I wrote this several years ago for my MySpace page, and every year, I re-read it and re-post it in some form of social media. I will also update it, but only if needed. I chose not to update it this year.
May we never forget.
-Zack Bennett, 9/11/11
I went bowling. It was a pretty good score for me, if I remember correctly. I don't really. I wasn't paying attention to the game. Maybe that's why it was such a good score. They say that you do better at sports like bowling and golf if you don't focus on the task at hand. But there I was, at the Family Fun Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It was 2:00pm on the afternoon of September 11, 2001.
I had to go bowling. Well, I didn't HAVE to, but I did. I was enrolled in a bowling class. I was three weeks into my first semester at MTSU as a Junior transfer. We were all scared, all in shock. The drama of that day was six hours old and nobody really knew what to do. I remember earlier in the day going to Breadbreak at Raiders For Christ and discussing it with people I barely knew. At that point (about three hours earlier), I didn't know just how severe it was. But by the time I went bowling, it was real.
Those of us who came to the bowling alley were watching the televisions above the lanes, not really caring much about the game. Fresh news was coming in, along with erroneous reports of more attacks. We heard of car bombs outside CIA headquarters. We heard of bombs going off in shopping malls. None of it was true, but we didn't know that. At that point, anything was possible. My dad told me to find the nearest fallout shelter. We were worried about getting nuked.
By that night, we knew that the world was going to change in a hurry. I remember going to my night class and watching Bush's speech on TV, and then later spending the evening with some people I barely knew at Raiders for Christ. We had heard news reports of the repercussions, including how much the cost of gasoline was expected to rise the next day. There were reports that we'd be paying (gasp!) $3.00 a gallon. We look back and laugh at that now, but that was a big worry that day.
The experiences of that day will never be forgotten. One day, I'll tell my children about that day and what it felt like. But they'll never understand. I'm worried that it won't even secure a prominent place in American history. It's only been nine years, and it's almost like we only want to either sweep it under a rug or use it as fodder in political arguments. There was a History Channel special that debuted in 2008, called "102 Minutes That Changed America", that didn't even show the footage of either plane striking the buildings. It was the most filmed event in world history, and nobody wants us to see it anymore. When was the last time you saw it on TV? Think about it. I bet you can't remember. That, to me, says a lot about the state of denial in which our country still lives.
We didn't just lose 4 airplanes, two skyscrapers, and a chunk of the Pentagon. We lost roughly 3,000 friends and neighbors, and as former British PM Tony Blair said, they could have killed 70,000 and rejoiced just the same. We can't forget the evil we saw that day.
As the day goes on, we'll probably all share our stories from that day, and whenever anyone asks me what I did on 9/11, I'll tell them I went bowling.