9/11 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     "Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center; another has hit the Pentagon; and a fourth plane is missing," the shocked voice announced over the loudspeaker. A sucker-punch had hit America between the eyes, and we were dazed. My uncle was on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon and my stomach began to twist into knots.

Not 45 minutes later, my mother arrived to take me home. As I sat in the car, I saw that tears streamed down her face. "We haven't heard anything about Jeff yet," she sobbed, "and I just wanted to have you with me." Together we would wait to hear if my uncle was in his office at the time of the crash.

We were glued to the television while we waited. I saw my fellow countrymen fall or jump to their deaths and grieved at their slaughter as the buildings came down on them. I watched as clouds of ominous gray smoke hung over the city. I watched people weep, and I wept inside. I worried for their loved ones as I feared for my own. Angrily, I found our flag and hung it outside.

Several hours later, my uncle called. He was safe. He had been out of the Pentagon when the plane hit, but it had indeed struck his office. We learned later that he lost 40 colleagues. He told us he had to report in, and that he would be shipping out.

As we spoke, I feared I would never talk to him again. Everything that day was so uncertain. I realized then that death could come for any of us without warning. The only guarantee in life is that death will come, no matter where you live or who you are.

There is no safety net large enough to catch us all. With this realization, a belief emerged that each moment must be used to the fullest or be lost forever.

Before saying good-bye, I asked my uncle, "How long will you be gone?"

"As long as it takes," he replied. The words still ring in my mind. Suddenly, I felt more confident, safe and secure. Yes, we'd been sucker-punched, but we would get up, stand tall and unleash a fury, long buried, but unforgotten.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 11 at 6:04 am
i love this so much!
girlygirl1996 said...
Sept. 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm
This is very, in a way, inspirational. The fact that your uncle did work in the pentagon but was safe.I'm happy that he was okay. And I hope he is still okay.
Vesperstar said...
Nov. 13, 2011 at 9:06 am
Wow. This is very good writing. I hope your Uncle is still alright.
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