It is so hard to believe that ten years has gone by since September 11, 2001. This weekend, we have spent a lot of time watching all the TV specials that have replayed everything that happened that day. When I see it, I feel like I am traveling back in time and reliving every bit of shock and disbelief that I felt as I was watching those events unfold before my eyes. It still feels the same, even after ten years.
I think everyone has their "I'll never forget where I was..." stories to tell, but I don't think I've ever written mine down before, so I wanted to record it here.
I was teaching second grade at McKee Road Elementary School. My classroom was outside in a mobile unit so I remember what a beautiful, cool day it was. We had our door open and I remember thinking how blue the sky was. It was just gorgeous.
I walked my class into the building to go to art around 8:45 and as I was walking back to my classroom, I noticed a group of teachers gathered around a TV in the library. I walked up to them and asked what they were watching and they said, "An airplane just flew into one of the World Trade Centers!" Really??? I remember thinking, "That's crazy! How on earth was a plane flying that low? Something must have been wrong with that pilot." Then I returned to my classroom and since there were no children in there, I turned on my TV.
I was watching the Today show and as Matt Lauer and Katie Couric were sitting there talking about what had just happened, ANOTHER plane flew into the other World Trade Center tower! This is exactly what I saw...
I remember at that point, feeling a chill run through me. I realized that this wasn't an accident. We were being attacked! I remember my mind racing trying to figure out who in the world would want to attack America? Where was this coming from??? I was glued to the TV for the rest of that period until I had to go pick my class up from art.
Our school was buzzing. Parents were calling and some teachers had their TV's on letting their classes watch the events. That may not have been the best idea, but that is just what was going on.
It wasn't 5 minutes after I got back to my classroom that I heard the Pentagon had been hit. We had been instructed by then not to say anything else to our students for fear of upsetting them, so I quickly wrote a note saying, "The Pentagon has been hit," and I ran out of my door across the sidewalk to the mobile unit beside mine and handed to the note to the teacher in that classroom. We both stood there wide-eyed just looking at each other and wondering what in the world was going on and should we be worried for the safety of our children?
Soon after this, parents started flooding the school picking up their children. Moms were crying as they came to get their kids and it was just such a scary and sad day.
We stayed at school with a handful of students until the end of the day. As I drove home, flags were flying EVERYWHERE! It seemed like every single person in our neighborhood had a flag out.
I came in and turned on my TV and pretty much stayed glued to it for the next week or so. I remember wanting to fight back. I was so mad! I felt like America needed to find out who did this to us and attack them back! I know that probably isn't the best response, but that is how I felt.
The heroism on that day was inspiring and humbling. I remember watching all those firemen and first responders who were so brave and watching how Americans everywhere came together to do whatever they could to help.
I was amazed at how people would give their lives to save the lives of people they didn't even know and I was so proud to be part of such a wonderful country!
There were so many emotions that it was hard to sort them all out. But more than anything, I knew our world would never be the same.
Flash forward 10 years...
I was talking to my third graders last week about 9/11 and none of them were even alive when it happened. One little boy in my class said his mom found out she was pregnant with him on that day...9/11/01.
That was such a metaphor to me. Life goes on. Even in our darkest days, God still surprises us with hope. He lets us know He is in control. He will take care of us and protect us.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Psalms 46:1,2
So that is my 9/11 story. And today I just want to remember all the people whose lives were taken in such a violent and horrendous way. I know I will never forget that day.
The world is a very different place now. But I know I don't need to fear for my future or the future of my children and grandchilren. God is in control and He will take care of us.