WITH MATURITY COMES PRIDE September is a significant month in the United States. Not only does this month signal the beginning of fall, but it’s also the time when we recognize the anniversary of 9/11. Many people pay their respects to those we lost with moments of silence and by lowering the flag to half-mast, and networks tend to air documentaries and memorial montages during the week. WhyI’mHonored toSh reMyBirthdayWithPatriotDay My birthday happens to fall on September 11, which always elicits responses like “Oh, I’m so sorry!” or “How unfortunate!” from those who don’t know me very well. But here’s the thing: Yes, it’s unfortunate that my birthday happens to fall on the anniversary of 9/11, but that doesn’t make me feel bad about my birthday. In fact, I’ve learned to be proud of the fact that I get to share my birthday with such an important holiday for the United States. When the attack on the Twin Towers happened the morning of September 11, 2001, I was 17 years old. I was in high school in Georgia at the time, sitting in my construction class. The school announced very briefly what had happened over the intercom, and we were told not
to turn on the television. The construction class had a tiny television in the room, so naturally we turned it on to see what was happening. The rest of the day, our school was somber, and at some point, I forgot it was my birthday. I knew what was happening in New York that day, but at the same time, I didn’t quite understand. I don’t think anyone understood what was really going on for some time, but the whole incident felt surreal. I had visited New York City before,
"I had always felt so safe living in the United States, and I had never been in a position to feel threatened, but everything changed that morning."
and I had seen the Twin Towers in person, but the images on the TV just felt like a scene from out of a movie. I had always felt so safe living in the United States, and I had never been in a position to feel threatened, but everything changed that morning. After school, my parents took me out to dinner, but the terrorist attack set the mood for the rest of the evening. We ate at a sports bar with lots of TVs, and we watched as the images were replayed over and over and the news anchors tried to make sense out of what had happened. When people ask me when my birthday is, they always apologize when I answer. When I was younger, I used to be
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