I had always been a deep sleeper, but not entirely unobservant. Heaving my heavy eyelids open, the first thing I saw was the rain on my window pane. I quickly looked over at my brother's bed. Empty.
"Huh." I sighed. There'd been a thunderstorm.
I lay on my back a while. I didn't wanna go back to school. The second week of 4th grade was off to a rocky start, but at least it wasn't Monday anymore.
"Four more days til the weekend..." I thought, staring at the ceiling.
My bed and blanket was wrapped around me like a coccoon and I tried to roll back into the comforting warmth. Instead, I ended up rolling off the bed completely and hitting the floor, winding me as the air was driven from my lungs with a groan. I struggled to my feet, tending to my sore back and pulled on a pair of worn jeans and a Sex Pistols T-shirt. Groggily dragging myself into the bathroom, I finished washing up and slumped down the white carpeted stairs with only one thought on my mind: Breakfast. I walked past my parents bedroom, passing long enough to glimpse my baby brother sprawled all over their covers. Lucky bugger didn't need to get up and go to school. I kept going past the kitchen and into the living room.
My parents didn't even turn around to say 'good morning'. Odd. Instead, they were sitting on the edge of their seats on one of the sofas. Mum was close to tears; her face turned away and tucked into my dad's neck. Dad had his giant, tree-trunk arm gently wrapped around her - keeping her safe. Mum began to sob, and that didn't happen often. It was only then that I noticed the tele.
I slowly drew closer to the couches, careful not to make any noise. I let my hands slowly grasp the sofa's soft, supple leather and watched as a pair of jumbo jets flew dead into two towering sky-scrapers. Watched as infernos erupted and piercing screams rang out. Watched as clouds of smoke billowed from the two dying giants. Watched the ensuing chaos. The fear. The terror. The horror.
"Make it stop, Ollie. My god, why? Why?!" sobbed Mum into my dad's royal blue shirt. He said nothing - just held her closer, flinching each time the planes crashed and re-crashed, as the nauseating clips was played over and over.
Something yawned behind me and a small, dazed voice managed to say: "What movie are you guys watching?"
They finally turned around to look at us. "It's not a movie, baby. It's real." struggled Mum.
My eyes never left the screen.
It's been ten years. Ten long years since that day. Some of us remember where we were when it happened, some don't and some of us can never forget.
The opening ceremony of the 9/11 Memorial is a testament to that fact. The two cascading waterfalls, moulded into the once-lost footprints of the two towers, were visually stirring. The rebuilding of of one tower - as of yet not complete, even after ten years - kindles hope. And the aloud-reading of the victims' names lended an emotional hand to their families and friends.
However, when now-Mayor Michael Bloomberg said people should no longer refer to this place as "Ground Zero" because "that's in the past", I shuddered. Why? Why the hell shouldn't we call it that? Why the bloody hell should we forget that this was not a simple tragedy, nor a natural disaster, nor a tragic accident? This was pure, unmitigated evil. There is no other word for it.
Yes, this memorial now stands to commemorate the dead - but history knows no better commemoration than Justice herself in all her beautiful glory. I say, never forget what happened here. Never forget why these innocent people died. Never forget what we still fight for. Never.
Expunging the reason and the truth behind this beautiful testament, this magnificent memorial, is to forget our reason. To forget this reason - while hundreds of thousands Americans and Canadians continue to lay down their lives each day in chilling courage and bravery - is the true travesty. We can never allow this to happen. Never.
We are still neck-deep in this war. It is not over. Churchill didn't tour London during Hitler's blitz with a comforting hand, trying to brush the dirt and debris over the whole mess - he called for victory! Roosevelt didn't just pat the surviving troops on the back after the destruction at Pearl Harbour - he called for triumph! Finish and bring the boys home, I say. 9/11 must never cease to be a day of remembrance and empowerment. Never.
This war is not about gold. Not about god. Not about glory. Not about resources, faith or vengeance. It's about Justice - something we must remember.
A decade it's been now. History will never forget, just as America never has and never should. Never stop remembering. Never.