I was 13 at the time and I lived in suburb outside New York. I clearly remember the words of the kid who announced to our class "someone blew up the World Trade Center." The first plane had just hit. Within the hour, the kids started to get picked up from school. We all knew that many of our parents worked in the buildings. I was sitting in band class when I saw my mom appear at the door, crying. She told me that my sister was in the base of one of the buildings at the World Trade Center when the first plane hit and we couldn't get in touch with her. My heart dropped into my chest and I started to cry. The buildings were gone by the time we drove down to a point overlooking the city. You could see the dust clouds in the distance. My sister was in the base of the building and, aside from the emotional trauma, got out fine. Some of our family's friends weren't so lucky.
My friend called me last night ecstatic about the news. It is good that bin Laden is dead, but I don't feel like rejoicing. For me, seeing Bin Laden's photo and name on every news site, in every paper, and on Facebook has brought me back to that cloudless Tuesday morning, to my mom crying outside the band room. It brought me back to baking brownies for my mom's friend who became a widow on 9/11. So I don't want to celebrate that Bin Laden is dead. I want us to heal from the wounds Bin Laden inflicted. I want my brother to come home from the war in Afghanistan that Bin Laden started. I want us to use this moment to advance peace and understanding, not relish in our archenemy's demise.
Briggs is a first year Ph.D. student studying political science at Vanderbilt University. He was 13 years old on 9/11.
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