Saturday, September 10, 2011

Never Forget or Always Remember?

I will ALWAYS REMEMBER where I was on September 11, 2001.
Not just on the 10 year anniversary...I think about it whenever someone mentions the Events of 9-11.

It was our planning period at Sue Cleveland Elementary. My grade partner and friend Amanda always listened to her radio during planning time. She heard about the first plan crashing into the World Trade Center and thought it was a joke. She came next door to my room to tell me and we turned on the TV to figure out what was going on. The first image we saw was the plane going through the second tower. Images began to replay on the screen. The only thing I remember is being confused. And numb. And fear.

Then reality set in. Our classes of 4th graders would return to our rooms in a matter of minutes. As a teacher our job is to teach but also to protect. In my confusion and disbelief and fear.... life went on in the safe little bubble of my classroom. My students had NO IDEA that the world had changed.
Parents began to pick up students. No recess that day. Everyone had bus and car duty. No adults talked about what was going on. Our job was to protect the children in our care until 3:00. I really don't know what I would have said to my students that day. I didn't understand the magnitude of what occurred.

It wasn't until I left school and heard the radio and TV reports---did I KNOW what had happened. I had no idea that a third plane had crashed. That all the airports were shut down. That my brother had been sent to the International Airport in Miami to cover the story. That I needed to go get gas in my car because prices were rising and it was being rationed. I had been in my bubble all day long. I almost think it was better that way. I could digest it all at once and try to understand the big picture instead of taking small bites through out the day. Darron was ready to turn off the TV and I was glued to it. Asking him a ton of questions----I am sure my students were at home asking their parents the same things.

Darron and I were startled awake by the sound of military helicopters and F-16 jets flying over our house in route to the Oconee Nuclear Station. (We would not find out until the morning where they were going and why). The sound of jets zooming over head is a distinct sound. One that brought fear and a sleepless night.

I prayed for the families who lost loved ones, I prayed for victims, I prayed for the ones who had not been found, I prayed for the leaders of our country, I prayed for the emergency workers in NYC, I prayed and prayed and prayed.

One of my favorite books is titled September 12. It was written by a group of elementary students and won the Scholastic contest and was published. The children wrote about how on September 12 they knew it would all be ok. (they had homework, and recess, and 2+2 was still 4). I read it every year about this time because...


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