We were sixteen, and nothing had ever changed our lives before. We’d seen terror on the news, bombs exploding, school shootings in high schools much like ours, but our lives always continued on the same.
We walked into chemistry, and our teacher told us a plane crashed in New York City. He turned on the news, “just for five minutes, to find out what’s going on.”
Fifteen minutes later, we saw the explosion of the second flight. The news stayed on through the crashes of a third plane, and then another. One building falling, and then another.
We were sixteen, and the world was shifting. We’d never heard the names Al Qaeda, Taliban, or Osama bin Laden before, but we pulled them in, desperately grasping, trying to understand something that made no sense.
After school, we walked out into the sun, for the first time uncertain about all the things we considered stable. Government. Money. Protection.
We were sixteen. Now we’re twenty-six. And it seems as though nothing, and everything, has changed.