Cohen: Remembering September 11

Marshall Cohen

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I will always remember where I was when I learned that we killed Osama bin Laden: in my room, blasting CNN, constantly refreshing Twitter and frantically texting my friends and family.

Everyone else will remember too.

This pivotal point in the War on Terrorism serves as the latest chapter in the history of the 9/11 attacks. But as we reflect on this moment, remember where you were when this all started on September 11, 2001.

Ten years ago, on that Tuesday morning, I was one very curious 4th grader. In many ways, the curiosity in me that was born on September 11 has never gone away.

I was in my classroom, on the very top floor of Perelman Jewish Day School in Philadelphia. At nine years old, I was barely familiar with the world. I knew that some guy named “Gore” had recently lost a really close election to “Bush.” That was about it.

A few students in my class were called down to the office, and my class size gradually shrank as they left. Eventually, my teacher called my name and told me to follow suit. I was joined on my walk the four flights of stairs to the office by a classmate, Jackie.

We speculated about the reason why we were being called downstairs to the office. She suggested that our loved ones might be in the hospital. I didn’t know what to think.

Upon reaching the main floor, I saw a pack of panicked mothers, including my own, who had a certain level of fear in her eyes that I had never seen before.

I parted ways with my classmate and quickly went into my mom’s car. She immediately took me home. She said there was an attack on America and that she thought I would be safer at home, as opposed to at a Jewish day school.

When I got home, I turned on the television right away and saw the gruesome video of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. At that moment I realized something major was happening.

I pulled a stool close to the TV and watched Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather all day. Honestly, I don’t think I moved away from that stool until I returned back to school on September 13.

America forever changed in those days. And so did I.

Marshall Cohen is a Medill freshman and DAILY blogger. He can be reached at and followed at