On this tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack of September 11th, 2001, my thoughts and prayers remain with those who lost their lives, their families and friends, those heroes who rushed into danger to save the lives of others and those who are suffering ill effects from their efforts that day. I am so proud of the way our country was able to come together after these tragic events and the way we continue to remember them after ten years.
This morning while reading and watching coverage, I was struck with how amazing what the passengers of Flight 93 did. It was such an incredibly noble act, such a willing sacrifice. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. They saved countless lives and we should all be thanking God every day for their bravery.
On 9-11-01, I was thirteen years old and an eighth grader. At 8:46 am, I was sitting unaware in my first hour Social Studies class. I didn't hear anything out of the ordinary until my third hour Geometry class. The teacher next door to ours popped his head in and asked out teacher if she had heard what was happening. She replied that she did and was trying to keep it together. He left. And the classroom of eighth graders was left wondering what the heck was going on. At least I was. It was such a strange exchange with no explanation from our teacher. Now, years later, I can understand what it must have been like for her and that she probably would not have been able to explain it to us with out losing it, but at the time I was a scared and confused student.
After third hour, I still had no idea what was happening and headed to the lunch room. The middle school lunch room was awash with rumors. Some students had been told what had happened, some just made things up. I heard we had been bombed, planes had crashed and about a million other variations of truth and lies. It was incredibly scary to be in the dark, to not know what was true and what was fiction.
I headed to band class, where our band director was also fairly cryptic. Before we began practicing the National Anthem in anticipation of an upcoming football game he said, "This may be the most important time you'll ever play this song." I know it gave me goose bumps, even though I still wasn't sure what was going on in the world around us. (A few days later we had the privilege of playing the National Anthem at "Meet You at the Flagpole" a morning of prayer and remembrance, which was also a very meaningful experience.)
I arrived at my fifth hour, Language Arts. Our teacher asked if people knew what was going on and proceeded to explain all that had transpired each day. Even though it was horrifying, it was a relief to be able to know what what really happened. Our teacher wisely gave us the day to read or write, whatever felt comfortable to us. I remember I was reading the book Armaggedon Summer, which wasn't a very comforting read, but it was nice to have a chance to have to think about learning and escape into a good book. I will always be grateful to Mrs. C. for explaining the situation to us. It was much needed and I'm sure took much effort on her part to remain composed. Besides the fact that she was a wonderful teacher and had a book club class and let us read or write to our hearts' desires every day, I think one of the reasons I really bonded with Mrs. C. was because she was the one who gave me that information I so desired, she was the person to finally explain what was going on and let me be able to process it all.
Partway through class, a note was delivered for me. It said, "Grandma and Grandpa are safe and well." Until that moment I had completely forgotten that my grandparents were on a senior trip to Washington D.C. that day. I was so thankful that I had not been worrying all day as the rest of my family was and that I knew they were safe. Although I do remember feeling dread as the note was delivered to me, fearing it held bad news. I still have that note.
After school, I met up with Lil Sis, as tennis practice had been canceled. We had heard that high school sports were cancelled as well and went to wait for Big Sis to pick us up. I knew something horrible had happened, but I remember thinking that if the high school tennis coach, Mr. M, had cancelled tennis practice it must be really bad (as he never cancelled practice.)
We went home to find my Dad had left home early. We watched TV coverage for most of the night. Only pausing to turn off the TV, while my dad opened his birthday presents and blew out 40 birthday candles. (In the days that followed I remember my Dad wishing they would come up with some other way to refer to the tragic events. He wished that his birth date wouldn't become synonymous with tragedy.) Then the TV went right back on so we could watch the harrowing images for the umpteenth time.
The people of New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, those in our military and the victims and all of those affected by this tragedy will be constantly in my thoughts and prayers today. #GodBlessAmerica