Where Were You?

I'm sure we all remember where we were ten years ago today, how could you forget. Although, if you were under, say ten, you might not remember vividly that day. That day that changed everything. My students don't remember it very well, at least they say they don't, which is understandable, most would have been four, five or six on September 11, 2001.

I remember though. With each photograph, each video, each recording, I remember it all too well.

So where was I? I was at work, in the office, about to make a quick phone call before the beginning of the school day, when the counselor's secretary walked in, ashen faced, horror struck, and announced that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. I was in disbelief. How could a pilot get so off course that he would crash into a hugh building, was my first thought. She said it was all over the news. I forgot about the phone call, walked to my room and turned on the television...just in time to see the second plane crash into the second tower. I was horrified.

First period was my conference period, I had no students to worry about at the moment, so I watched the events as they unfolded. I was dumbstruck, unable to turn away from the television. I can still hear Katie Couric's voice in my head each time I see pictures of the collapse of the second tower, her disbelief, her shock, my disbelief, my shock. I was numb. I was alone. I was scared.

At that time, the class periods were ninety minutes long, we were on a block schedule. I didn't see a class for the length of time it took for the events in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania to unfold. Daughter was a senior that year, I wanted to go and grab her and bring her into my room but feared alarming her and her classmates, I didn't know if her teacher was watching the events as they happened. Toward the end of the period a couple of her friends came into my room and watched with me, all the while asking what was happening, why was it happening. I felt helpless. I couldn't bring comfort to them because I didn't know what was happening, I couldn't make sense of it all, who could?

The day progressed with nothing but watching, waiting, hoping that some sort of sense would come of all of this. I didn't teach a thing that day, I couldn't. I was busy trying to remain composed for the sake of the students. Many have criticized President Bush for not getting up immediately and running out of the room as soon as he heard the news. I understand why he didn't. Panic and you scare the students, mine were old enough to try and grasp what was happening, I can't even imagine how you could've helped elementary school kids during those tense and confusing hours.

One of my other memories of September 11 is the unity that was felt throughout the nation during the days and months after it all happened. President Bush asked that we fly our nations flag as a show of unity, boy did the nation respond. Everywhere I drove I saw flags flying as well as ingenious ways to represent the flag. A family in our neighborhood painted a flag on the side of their barn, it brought tears to my eyes when I saw it. Now, each time I drive past it, I'm reminded of why they painted it.

The colors were much more vivid then, the yellow 'fringe' around the flag much more noticeable. I love that this family took the time to so meticulously add the details that they did.

On this day of remembrance, I'm flying my flag at home and a virtual flag on this post. I hope we never have to go through something like this again. If we do, however, we are a resilient nation, we've proven that time and again. 

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

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