When I came up with the idea for this post it wasn't because I had some great, compelling "Where were you on 9/11 story", but the thought behind it was more that I wanted other people to share something that they might not have shared otherwise and I always love reading different people's experiences surrounding common events.
On September 11th I often talk to my students about why the day is significant and such and it blows my mind every year that the kids I teach have no memory of or weren't even alive during such a significant event.
On Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, I was a High School senior and had just gone to my early morning marching band rehearsal. After rehearsal, we were changing in the locker room when a friend of mine came in and told us that there had been a plane crash. She lived right by the school and so she always ran home to shower and change while the rest of us took care of that at school and she had seen the news. It didn't really register with all of us (we were too busy fixing our hair and getting ready for class), but when I walked into AP English first period our teacher had the live news on and it was then that I realized that something huge had happened.
We put our reading packets and binders away, she turned off the lights and as we were watching live we watched the second plane crash into the tower. It was in that moment that I knew that we were watching something that was going to change life forever. We were young and naive and the thought of a terrorist attack hadn't even crossed my mind until the broadcaster suggested it. I remember the bell ringing and stepping out into the hallway and it was eerily quiet. The halls were packed, but no one knew what to say.
My next period class was in the band hall and again, we sat in the dark and watched the live coverage as both towers fell and the other two flights crashed. It was unbelievable.
After band I was supposed to head to the hospital to do a rotation in the ER (I was part of a clinical rotation program where I shadowed physicians), but when I got there they weren't letting anyone in except for emergency patients and official staff. I didn't really know what to do since I didn't have to go back to school, so I headed to the shop that I worked at on the downtown square. The shop owner and the girl who worked during the week had the door locked and they were watching the coverage on a teeny TV in the back. I let myself in and watched with them for a while. I remember everything feeling so confusing and unknown. We watched and cried as we stared in disbelief at dust covered people walking down the streets in Manhattan and replays of the planes crashing and towers falling. We closed up the store and I drove home. My dad was working in his home office and I remember that when I got home he had no clue what was happening. He had been on a conference call and this was pre-Facebook and all of that and after I gave him a synopsis of what I knew, he and I sat on the couch and watched for the rest of the day.
The only break we took from watching news reports, was to go wait at the gas station to fill up our cars with gas (anyone else do this???). I don't think I've ever watched so much news. Ever.
Dave and I visited New York in 2004 and had a chance to visit Ground Zero. Seeing the site in person was incredible and humbling. It was a huge hole and they were still removing debris.
I had an opportunity to go back to NYC in 2011 when I chaperoned our Senior Trip and stood in absolute awe of the National Memorial.
As we head into the anniversary of 2001, I invite you to join me in praying for the families who lost a loved one on the date, during the recovery or now, years later as a result of being involved in clean up and rescue.
I'm looking forward to visiting the links and read about where you were on 9/11.
Back tomorrow with a weekend recap and (hopefully!) a fun craft project for Thursday.