I Remember…

Prior to keeping my online journal (aka blog), I had a real journal that I wrote in religiously. Actually, make that five real journals that are chalk-full of high school drama, boys, self-image problems, family and friend woes, and anything else that happened during high school.

I saved them all and sometimes it’s fun to go back and read them. In today’s case, it was a reality check. I’ve been writing here for more than five years, but I checked my archives and I’ve always skipped over the most momentous day in my history: 9/11. Until now.

I clipped magazine pictures and kept mementos of places I went and things I saw and I would rubber cement them to my journal to remind myself what to talk about the next time I wrote. I guess I must’ve seen Destiny’s Child just a few days before 9/11.

I opened my journal carefully—it’s starting to fall apart after all these years—and went back to September 11, 2001. I wasn’t at a loss for words back then, but I felt I needed to do something, so I did the only creative thing I could think of at the time. I made a flag out of nail polish and white-out. And then I wrote.

I wrote about what was happening and what I was thinking at the time. Reading about it now, my thoughts weren’t the most coherent and I didn’t mention much about how I was feeling or where I was when I found out—World History class of all places—but I like reading it now. 

Wow, check out that massive typo. Yikes.

I talked about how everything shut down and the world was standing still. I spoke of how I felt about the possibility of my friends going off to war—oh, if I knew then what I know now, that I would marry into the military! 

And then I wrote about something that surprises me today. I wrote about our Homecoming dance that was taking place that coming weekend. Homecoming. A dance. I wrote about a dance and how I was worried I wouldn’t have a date. Really? Really, Jessica? 

I guess that shows that life went on and continues to go on. Terrible tragedies occur and the world—America—can join together and become united during a horrible crises, but life goes on.  

Honestly, though, I’m kicking myself for not writing about how I was feeling during that time, so I may go back and add a page to my journal. 

I remember being terrified and scared for “aftershocks” and copycats. I remember hurting and aching for the families and how my friends and I joined together and felt close because of that experience. I remember a girl in my math class getting a phone call and running out into the hall crying.

A few months after 9/11, New York was trying to get their tourism back so radio stations were offering contests with free trips to NYC. My mom won a trip out there and we all went. We were standing at Ground Zero the day they removed the last piece of debris from the Twin Tours. I remember a memorial wall that was as large as a city block. I also remember standing at a coffee shop severl blocks—possibly even up to a mile—away from Ground Zero and seeing at least an inch of ash/dirt from 9/11. 

We will never forget.


  1. I wrote about my experience on my blog too.

    I also had a total teen moment… I used this as a reason I needed a cellphone. Which REALLY put off my dad. Yet, I think he was scared too, since we got them a few weeks later.

    I have a journal entry from that day but I'm going to post it when I post all my journals when my blog design is done. I recently re-read it for the first time and it was really emotional.

  2. You shouldn't be hard on yourself for worrying about your date for Homecoming.

    I know it was a terrible time and everyone was devastated, but after all, you were a teenager, and Homecoming and dates are a very important part of being a teenager.

    It may have also been a way for you to cope – maybe it was just too hard for you to write about your feelings at that time.

  3. I also don't think you should feel badly for going on to think about your date for homecoming. You are right, life does go on. If you weren't thinking about your life, you were letting the terrorists win that day. 🙂

  4. Great post, I wrote about it too. I enjoyed seeing the pics of your blog though and what a cool idea with the flag. I wrote about it my journal when it happened, and I went for hunt yesterday looking everywhere for that journal, but I never found it. 🙁

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