Nick Monacelli visited the 9/11 Memorial on 9/11 -- and found mixed emotions

Visiting memorial 20 years after 9/11 attacks

I can’t believe it’s been 20 years -- 20 years since terrorists changed America forever. I remember vividly where I was: trigonometry class at Stevenson High School with Mr. Ersig. None of us could really understand what we were watching on TV.

I remember the internal debate with school admins, wondering if they should let us watch the coverage, and then wondering if it was safe to be at school.

Twenty years after the fact -- and now living through the second most historical event of my generations’ lives (the COVID-19 pandemic) -- I’ve been wondering a lot about history. How is 9/11 portrayed in history books? How will the pandemic be portrayed? Then, I realized most of the time, historical facts are informative but lack individual perspective. We’re taught in journalism school that stories are about people, not things. But oftentimes school textbooks miss the opportunity to tell memories through people.

So, 20 years later, I decided to visit the 9/11 Memorial site myself. I wanted to get a feel for it, in person, to talk to those there, and talk to those who were there. I knew it would be busy. I knew it would be emotional. What I didn’t expect was the mixed emotions. I put together the video above so you can see for yourself.

About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.