Stephanie Says

Stephanie Ivankovich

No one will ever forget where they were the moment they heard about the terrorist attacks 14 years ago.

I was in fifth grade. I remember walking home from school with other Beaver Creek Elementary kids up a hill moments before my friend’s mom broke the shocking news.

Gabrielle and Noelle, sisters that lived in our neighborhood walking with us, lived in the big white house in Green Meadows North. Since their house was the first one up the hill they were the first ones home.

Her dad was always outside. The tall, dark-haired, Christian man was always very proud of his lawn and he often times waited for his children to come home from school.

As we were saying “bye” to the girls for the day both of their parents were outside.

Her mom always had teased blonde hair and a huge smile on her face. She wasn’t smiling when we saw her.

“It’s going to be World War III,” she told us.

She didn’t go into details but I brushed it off and thought she was joking.

As a fifth grader everything I have ever heard about war was years ago and in a text book.

We continued our walk home. By this time it was just my sister and I. Who knows what she was thinking during that walk home. I just brushed the comment off and told myself the peppy mother was taking something into an extreme.

When we walked inside our house my parents had the TV above the mantle on Fox News. They always watched the news so I didn’t really look at the TV.

“Mom, I heard there’s World War III?” I asked.

Then I looked at the TV and saw the Twin Towers burning.

Both of my parents explained what had happened.

After I heard I was really sad. It was absolutely heart breaking for me to hear.

This fifth grader thought, that’s city where I was born, it’s burning, if we wouldn’t have moved to Iowa—we could be dead.

It seemed unreal. I still didn’t want to believe it. Although the rest is fuzzy I also remember my Mom saying that Goldman Sachs, the company she worked for when we lived on Staten Island, was very close to the Twin Towers.

I don’t remember what else happened that day but later in the week I’ll never forget the sombering pause at school.

I was in math class, my least favorite subject. The announcement buzzer beeped and the principal told the students that the school will be taking a moment of silence. I remember looking out the window and crying at that moment.

Fast forward to 14 years later. My best friend who lives in Cliffside Park NJ, about 20 minutes from New York, had her engagement party this past summer. I told her I wouldn’t miss it for the world so my sister, fiance and I took a little trip.

Since my fiance had never been to New York outside of when he lived there as a small child, he wanted to see the city.

We went to see the New York classics— Times Square, the Empire State building, the Nike store, the Statue of Liberty, the Wall Street bull and then Ground Zero.

One of my childhood friends who now works for the Union helped construct it. He always said how sombering it was. That was exactly how I felt seeing it.

We walked where the building was. It was a beautiful monument with water falling from each side of the square marble platform outlining where a tower once stood. I couldn’t believe it. Seeing that as an adult it gave me chills, even on a 90 degree day.

People of all nationalities had flocked to this side of the big city to see it. It was really surreal.

I will never forget Sept. 11, 2001. United we stand.