It was an early morning, the 11th of September, 2001. Knowing that it was the last day of our one week stay in Boston, Massachusetts to visit our grandparents, I woke up early and went outside to enjoy the fresh air of the farm. As my parents carried on sleeping, I picked up as much grass as I could and went to feed my adored animals. With a gentle pat, I said my goodbyes to all the cows, pigs, and chickens I had grown to love throughout this week that I had spent in my grandmother’s farm.
Our plan was to have breakfast and depart immediately for the airport, as our plane left at 8:00 AM. So in the next hour, as everyone woke up, we all had breakfast together, and said goodbye to each other. Before we knew it we were in the airport, waiting at the end of the boarding queue.
As we boarded the airplane and found our seats, the pilot’s voice boomed out from the speakers: Thanks for joining American Airlines Flight 11, with the destination of Los Angeles, California. We are about to start our flight. Please fasten your seat belts and turn your electronic devices to flight mode. I wish you all a comfortable flight! Tired from lack of sleep, I raised my arms, lay back into my seat, and fell asleep.
I had hardly rested for 20 minutes when a mysterious-sounding voice coming from the speakers, one that did not resemble the pilot’s in any way, woke me up. We have some planes. Just stay quiet and we’ll be okay. We are returning to the airport. Immediately after, panic struck the airplane. All around the aircraft you could see people worrying, and others trying to keep calm them, but with a look of fear in their faces. The same voice spoke again: Nobody move! Everything will be okay! If you try to make any moves you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet!
Only then, I, and every other passenger on board found out what was really happening. The truth hit me like a blade stabbing my heart, and there was nothing I could do about it. We were getting hijacked! None of us knew where we were going, or when our fatal destiny would come. I had heard of several hijackings in the past, and none of them involved killing the pilot and taking control of the plane. Usually, they would force the pilot to land them on a faraway airport and demand a ransom in return for the freedom of the passengers. But this was totally different.
Panic struck the plane once more. But the worst sounds didn’t come from the shouts of men or from the high-pitched cries of the women. It was the sound of crying, and of tears. Tears of sadness. Tears of desperation. Tears of having to live with the knowledge that death would come at any moment now. All around the airplane, you could hear people speaking on the telephone, and saying a final goodbye to their loved ones. During my life I have been in many funerals, but not a single one of them even neared the sadness that I was experiencing right now.
I was so deep into my thoughts that I hadn’t even noticed the hug of my mother warming my body, or my father’s gentle hand stroking my hair. I raised my head to look at them, and all our eyes met. Not a single word was needed. Our eyes spoke for us, as if they were saying one final goodbye to each other. Knowing the end could not be too far away, we stood together in harmony, and joined together in one big family hug.
At this point, we were already feeling the descent. I didn’t want to look outside, but the curiosity was too much for me. I looked out the window, and to my shock New York City was only a few hundred meters away. The people were fully visible, and we were on about the same height as the skyscrapers. All of a sudden, we picked up speed significantly. I could see a far away shadow of a building, and we were headed towards it! In a few seconds, to my horror that shadow turned out to be the two towers of the World Trade Center. As we came closer and closer, shouts of terror filled the airplane.
I said my final goodbyes to the world. I said goodbye to Los Angeles, my home city and all my friends there. I said goodbye to my family, to my grandparents we had left just a few hours ago, knowing that they would never overcome our loss. I said goodbye to my two parents who I loved so much, hoping that we would reunite in heaven. I said goodbye to everything and everyone I had ever seen and known.
There was a massive explosion, and then silence. Just the deafening sound of silence.