If I see another bombing or senseless attack, I am going to scream! At least I hope I do.
I was a Senior in high school when the planes went through the World Trade Center in New York City. I remember my friend Alison telling me in the commons, my school’s equivalent of the cafeteria, that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. I did not understand what she had told me so I replied with a gasp and carried on.
When I arrived to my first period class the TVs were on. We were mesmerized. We had no idea the gravity of what was happening. We listened as the media tried making sense of what happened. As high school students, we had no idea. I remember seeing the second plane enter the second building, Gravity set in. We had an idea and it was not good.
We moved in collective shock to our next class. I remember Dr. McDonald refusing to turn the TV on for us to watch but after persistent pleading, he obliged. And it was in his classroom I witnessed the first tower collapse. I immediately left school to pick up my other siblings and retreat to our house, not knowing what was going on.
I remember watching the news replay the attack over and over and over and over again. And me crying each time.
For days, I cried. For years, pictures of what once stood (including the opening to Friends) triggered me.
Fast forward almost 16 years and I am numb.
The world I knew as a young child was shattered September 11, 2001. And the tears I once cried began to permanently dry with each iteration of what we have come to term “terrorist attack.”
The attacks at Manchester should have driven me to tears but my mind processes it all as “just a part of life” now. How dare I! That is not normal or ok. A life lost under such tragic circumstances is not ok.
But it has happened so often that the shock of such types of incidents has worn off.
I find myself asking, “what can I do?” and “how can I impact change?” I don’t do this for my own sake of feeling better, but rather for the generations coming after me. For the generation of children growing up where terror attacks are normal.
My 9-year-old is familiar with the term “suicide bomber.” My 14-year-old responds to terror attacks with a, “oh.” Tears don’t fall. Questions around the situation don’t ensue.
The numbing sensation for me did not begin until after years of processing what happened and watching repeated, small attacks happen with frequency around the world. I feel for the victims but I am no longer distraught.
As adults, we must ask ourselves, “what type of future are we creating for our children?” “what is going to be their normal?” and “are we okay with that normal?”
I should have cried when I heard about Manchester. I should have felt outrage if I was not compelled to cry. I should have felt something. Hatred and violent crime cannot win. Our children deserve better. We have to make fundamental changes.
Follow up solution blog to release June 9, 2017.