LHS senior brings New York perspective to 9/11- A remembrance

LHS senior brings New York perspective to 9/11- A remembrance

By Michael Scotto September 11th, 2001 – across our country and across the world – is a day that’s near universally remembered in infamy. We all know what happened. At 8:46 a.m. on Tuesday morning, American Airlines Flight 11 hit One World Trade Center (the North Tower). Then at 9:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 hit

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Otis Vincent Tolbert’s gravesite at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C., is shown on September 11, 2012. Tolbert was killed when terrorists flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the western face of the Pentagon. (Michael Doyle/MCT)

By Michael Scotto

September 11th, 2001 – across our country and across the world – is a day that’s near universally remembered in infamy.

We all know what happened. At 8:46 a.m. on Tuesday morning, American Airlines Flight 11 hit One World Trade Center (the North Tower). Then at 9:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 hit Two World Trade Center (the South Tower). Shortly after, they both collapsed, and countless lives went with them.

Now that said, factually, unemotionally and detached is NOT how I want generations too young to remember that day, nor the future generations who will only know “the day terrorists attacked” from textbooks or the occasional documentary on television, to view the event. The truth is, I need people to understand the immensity of the emotional collective of every American citizen who was affected by 9/11, and every single New Yorker who was there to witness it.

I was 6 years old, still a child, when I saw my father fall to his knees in shock and agony as the first tower fell. My mind, too young to process what I just witnessed, was also too young to see how distraught my father was. He had no way of contacting his wife, my mother, who was working at the DMV at the time. Only a decade before, she had been an employee at the World Trade Center. Although she was okay, the trauma of seeing the iconic towers of her city burning, her friends still inside, had a lasting psychological impact. So much so, she could not bring herself to continue watching the images the news continued to broadcast.

Then the second tower fell. To my family, and to so many others, these weren’t just buildings falling apart at the hands of terrorism; this was the sky. OUR sky falling right on top of us. So many friends, family, and loved ones lost in only moments.

Now from here the country had to pick itself up and move on. I certainly believe here in Lincoln things must not have changed too much. Maybe there was a newly found stillness amongst you. Maybe things did change dramatically for you, if so I don’t see it as I walk in the hallways and hear jokes about the towers falling, jokes about terrorism,. In my gut I feel a hatred so profound for those who have the indecency to mock the most terrible of experiences for someone like me or the members of my family, who stepped outside of our quaint Long Island apartment to see the smoke and fire billowing into the sky from miles away.

It’s true, however, that the country had to move on, and I understand that. But what I want to explain, what I want you, any of you who read this to understand, is that for New Yorkers it wasn’t just the attacks that left us scarred. No, it was something else, something the rest of the country can’t possibly understand.

The funerals.

As my father (Mark Scotto) said,“Every single day for four straight years, there were funerals –  three to five every day. Not just for the citizens, the men, women, and children, buried under the rubble, or the passengers on the flights that made contact with the towers and the passengers aboard Flight 77 and 93 that hit the Pentagon and crashed just outside Pennsylvania respectively. Or even all the jumpers, the ones who’d rather fall to their deaths than burn alive, but also the firefighters and police officers, the ones risking their lives to save those who couldn’t save themselves. Every single day, we – living in the state of New York – had to endure every single funeral entourage driving down the road, one after another in rain, snow, or sweltering heat. There were so many that Mayor Rudy Giuliani wasn’t capable of attending them all.”

For four years, we were forced to relive that day. Even if we wanted to move on, we didn’t have a say in the matter. It was just another scar we’d have to bury deep under our skin.

September 11, 2001 will live on in infamy, a travesty to the decent and moral, and a wicked victory to those who wish harm upon us as a nation.

All I need you to know is that while the rest of this country may have had time to heal and recuperate, we as a city and as a state could not. And now, just maybe, you’ll understand why that day is as fresh in our minds today as it was eleven years ago.

Michael Scotto is a senior at LHS. He moved here from Long Island, New York during his sophomore year.

 

 

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  • Mandy Peterson
    September 15, 2012, 11:36 am

    Michael, I love this reflective piece. I lived in New York for awhile, but haven’t been there since 9-11. It’s hard to imagine the city so transformed.

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  • Lori Rennings
    September 15, 2012, 1:21 pm

    Michael –

    I found your article very personally moving. I remember just exactly where I was that day, too. Probably we all do. In this piece you managed to create just the right serious mood and tone. Thank you for sharing your difficult memories with the LHS community.

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  • Mr. Maly
    September 17, 2012, 7:46 am

    A very profound article that serves readers on many levels: an important testimonial of history and a clear reflection of a day that changed the world. I appreciate Mr. Scotto’s willingness to share this painful experience in his family’s life, so that we may deal with our own emotions that the violence evoked. An outstanding piece.

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