I barely remember 9/11.
Unlike many people, I can’t tell you where I was, what I was wearing, or who I was with when I found out that terrorists had crashed planes into the Twin Towers. Sure, I was only in elementary school, but that day is so ingrained in the fiber of our nation that it feels like a faux pas to point out how much it really didn’t affect my formative years.
However, I do remember 9/3. That’s the day, in 2016, my entire family packs up a rented van and drives my baby sister–hardly a baby anymore–to New York City.
“You’re in college now,” I tell her in a mockingly severe voice before we leave the house.
“You’re going to be tempted to be stupid. Don’t be stupid.” She rolls her eyes as teenagers do, but I know she understands exactly what I am saying. Be careful. Be safe.
She is always careful, but that doesn’t guarantee her safety.
It’s not her actions I worry about when I’ve texted her six times in a row because she hasn’t yet replied to the first. It’s the actions of an unknown individual setting off bombs in dumpsters or plotting to take out a subway system or whatever other sinister act living in a large–or any–American city attracts these days.
I worry for my parents, who may not be as in tune with the minute happenings of our world being a social media obsessed millennial allows me to be. If something were to happen, when would they know?
I worry for my brother, who has his own battle being a successful Black male in America. Is any member of our Black family safe from day to day? Another thought for another time.
I worry for the nation; we’re living in a place that is seemingly always on the cusp of some sort of disaster. Economically, culturally, internationally, socially, physically, etc. What will tomorrow bring? That is, if it comes at all.
But most of all, I worry for the youngest of the family. The one of us expected to be the most successful. The smartest, the funniest (well, maybe not more than me), and the most charming of our happy little crew. She’s five or six hours away. Who is keeping her safe without us being arm’s length away. I worry for her and about her because while I don’t much remember 9/11, I remember every attack since. In all of the many, many places since. We’re all just being realistic when we acknowledge what has happened in New York, Florida, D.C., and several other cities, and that it may happen again.
Still, I must accept that living in a state of paranoia is helpful to no one, especially myself, so I text her regularly hoping to hear of a celebrity siting rather than something new to worry about.
She has a beautiful view of Manhattan from her dorm window and tucked away in the back, glistening when the sun hits it just right, is the Freedom Tower. I make sure to remember what is stands for.