By Danna Friedberg, 15, Hamilton HS (Los Angeles)
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I remember it like it was yesterday. I woke up at 6 a.m. with my alarm radio blasting one of my favorite songs. I laid luxuriously in bed for a few minutes listening while I slowly woke up. Then my mom came rushing in. She told me to get up because there was an emergency in the world. At first I thought she was playing a joke to get me out of bed. When I saw the planes and the burning buildings, I couldn’t believe what I was watching.

When I walked to my bus stop, the streets were empty, streets usually filled with students and people walking to work. When I did pass a few people on the street I kept wondering, do they know what happened? I wanted to rush up to them and ask them how they felt. As I waited for the school bus, I saw two little girls skipping and laughing. It made me angry. How could two little girls be so happy after what had just happened?

At school some kids didn’t even know about it. Everyone else was on their cell phones talking to parents. In second period, a classmate was sent to the office to pick up a message. She returned in tears—her uncle had died in the World Trade Center. At that moment I realized that everyone would be affected, not just people in New York.

After school, my mom took me to the dentist. On the way home, she saw a sign for a sale at a shoe store. Telling me that we had to do our part for the economy, she took me shopping and bought four pairs of shoes. It felt weird to do something normal on such an awful day.

These days, I rarely hear about it on the news anymore. It is incredible to think that just a year ago families were glued to their television sets for days watching coverage of the world trade center. With 9/11’s first anniversary, it boggles my mind to think of how fast this year went by.

I remember how, at first, car windows were decorated with American flags and people wore tacky American flag shirts with ugly eagles flying across them. When they sang the national anthem at baseball games, everyone was teary-eyed. But then, something happened. The national anthem was played out, people stopped crying and all of the flags fell off of people’s cars (whose bright idea was that anyway?).

The most you heard about 9/11 was an occasional skit on Saturday Night Live mocking Bin Laden. There’s a rumor that after Eminem made fun of Bin Laden in his music video "Without Me," Bin Laden sent him a threatening letter. It seems that Bin Laden has gained somewhat of a star status. Along with Mickey Mouse and Britney Spears, everyone around the world knows his name and face. I know people were mad when Time magazine considered choosing Bin Laden as one of the top people who changed the world in 2001. But Bin Laden really did change the world in ways we will never forget.

"Terrorist" seems like a new word. When something bad happens we now automatically assume that it is terrorist action, like the man who shot two people at LAX on the Fourth of July.

We’re also more suspicious of people who look Middle Eastern. Having just traveled overseas I have noticed that airport security is tighter than usual. I also noticed that some people were forced to open their bags for a search. When I flew to London, the only people who had to do this were the ones who looked Middle Eastern. What airport security seems to overlook is the fact that anyone could have a harmful weapon that they are bringing on an airplane.

And yet, in a strange way, not much has really changed since September 11.When Fourth of July came around I was hopeful that it would be more about our country’s freedom than just hot dogs and fireworks. I was very disappointed when Fourth of July was the same as it was every year.

A lot of teens don’t seem to remember

A lot of teens have totally moved on. When my friend visited New York, I asked her if she was going to Ground Zero. She looked at me like she did not know what I was saying. Then it clicked in. She told me that she had completely forgotten about it. I’m not constantly thinking about it but, I have never forgotten. When I am complaining about things I sometimes have to stop and think that I shouldn’t be whining because things could be worse for me. I could have lost a loved one or even worse. Luckily for me I only know one person who lives in New York and that person wasn’t even near the World Trade Center.

It is frightening to think about what the future holds for America. I am hoping that September 11 becomes a national holiday so that years from now we will still remember the heroes that sacrificed their own lives to help others escape from the crumbling towers. We tend to forget about those heroic people. In fact those are the real celebrities. We must continue to always show patriotism and never forget about that tragic day that went down in history.