www.whyville.net Sep 11, 2011 Weekly Issue

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The Band-Aid

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I was five.

I'd been sitting in front of my mom, myself on the floor, my mother on the couch. I stared happily at my new white sneakers with purple lights running down the sides of them. My pink leggings and green shirt didn't match, but they didn't have to. I was in kindergarten, not a care in the world. I didn't mind if my hair wasn't perfect or if people didn't like me, boys had cooties and didn't cause drama, best friends didn't start rumors, and the hardest homework I had was two plus two. Life was fantastic for little five year old me, and it started just like any other day on September 11, 2001.

The brush my mother was holding ran down through my long hair, reaching to the small of my back. Our white phone was cradled in between her shoulder and ear, which was odd for me to see. I knew that Mommy didn't like talking on the phone, and that she definitely wouldn't be using it at this time in the morning. She had a scared face, like when she found out that her brother had been in an accident with his car. A small crease formed in between her eyebrows, which reminded me of Daddy. I fiddled with a beaded necklace as I thought of my father.

Mom's voice was worried as well, but I didn't mind. Whenever she was worried, my dad fixed it. I knew that it'd be a few hours before she was okay again. Nothing would be permanent. All of a sudden, Mom dropped the phone and the brush, which landed between my back and the couch. It scared me, and I jumped to turn around and look at her, as she stretched for the remote control on the end table. All the blinds in our living room were closed, light filtered in through the kitchen windows. Soon, the reflection of our TV filled my eyes, and I waited patiently as my mother picked the phone up again and clicked through channels. I was waiting on my morning cartoons.

My mom found a channel with a lady talking. She was wearing a pink shirt and her hair was brown and curled, she sat behind a desk. Her big words couldn't phase me, and I didn't understand why Spongebob's jokes weren't ringing in my ears, or why Winnie the Pooh wasn't going on an adventure in the Hundred Acre Woods. Instead, words ran across the screen, as brief pictures flashed behind the woman. I stood and turned to my mother, looking her in the eye, standing in her way. I cried out for my cartoons, but I was hushed.

All of a sudden, the woman was gone and in her place was a blue screen saying 'Live Cam', before switching to two tall sticks in the sky. They reached the sun and above, and they seemed like the biggest things I'd ever seen. Instantly, I was occupied with this new revelation. Then I noticed something. One of these sticks was spitting orange and black, everywhere. It wasn't Halloween, was it? My mind wandered. And why wasn't the second stick like the other, why was it being so still, standing straight up?

That soon ended, as well. What I saw next on that TV will be engraved into my mind for the rest of my life. I stared in awe as a flying car, as I put it, flew into the second one. I heard screams, bad screams too. Not happy screams that I made when I was being playfully chased by my best friend on the playground, or when my father lifted me into the air and tickled me. It was bad screaming, like when Mommy and Daddy were upset at each other, like when I broke my arm and it hurt so badly, that was all I could do.

The second stick started spitting smoke and orange too, and I just couldn't understand. What was happening? I turned to my mother, my eyes filled with confusion, as I looked at her, and quietly asked what was going on. She picked me up and set me on her lap, squeezing me tight. She whispered to me, momentarily drowning out the bad screams, "Bad men don't like us." I stared and stared, before silently sliding off of her lap and into the bathroom.

I came back with a box of Band-Aids, which I carefully placed on the TV screen. I sat back and smiled. "Now the sticks are better!" I cried triumphantly. My mother let out a gasp, and I turned to the TV again. I watched the towers go down, and more bad screams filled my ears. I scrambled away from the tortured box, trying to escape this horror that was the Terrorist Attacks of 9/11. I threw myself into my mother's arms and peeked at the TV. I watched a man jump to his death.

Why didn't the Band-Aid work? I've asked myself that multiple times since that day.

If only it had. If only the company had kept it's promise, that Band-Aid really can help heal me. If they really can help heal us, as Americans. This nightmare has not ended, even after 10 years. We'll never be the same. A decade after this day, people still aren't better. Their Band-Aids have yet to come to their wounds.

No matter who you are, where you are, what you're doing, today is going to be a hard day. If someone is upset, help heal an American. They are your sister or brother as well. We must come together to show these terrorists that we are stronger than them, we are better than them, and we will not back down to them. Be a Band-Aid to someone in need, someone with a broken heart, someone who may be a little down.

I was five years old the day America changed forever. I didn't care about a thing. My life was perfect. But I watched as our country fell down, was kicked and beaten, and we began to suffer heartbreak. A heartbreak you can't imagine until you've experienced it.

It changed me in ways a five year old should never be changed. I didn't like to trust, I didn't want to. I watched death, and I understood it from that day on. No one has the right to mess up a child like that. But they didn't just mess me up, they tore families apart, they stole fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends. They stole something that can't be replaced no matter much money you put into the efforts of finding it again. Babies no longer have parents, wives have no husbands, and vice versa.

They may have stolen from us, but as Americans, we stand strong. And we will not allow them to continue this.

Be a Band-Aid for someone who needs one. We've suffered long enough, it's time we heal.

My sincerest apologies, thoughts, and prayers go out to each and every American today. The families that have been directly affected by these pointless attacks, my heart goes out to you all. Thank you for being strong; you've set an example for me, and I respect each and every one of you.


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