We all remember where we were that day. Well, most of us probably do. Dave’s 6th grade students were only 1 year olds at the time. I was 13. Getting ready for school and for one of my first 8th grade volleyball games. My dad, who worked shift work and was rarely home when I left for school, had the day off and was eating cereal in front of the TV when he called my name.
That is when I saw it. I saw a skyscraper with smoke coming out of it. I was really confused. My dad told me that an airplane had run into. All I could think was, “What pilot is stupid enough to run into a skyscraper?” I watched the TV and listened to a man talk about what had happened. That is when I saw something else. Another airplane.
I remember seeing that airplane crash into the second tower. I remember hearing the man being interviewed. We were all confused. We were all astonished. I still wasn’t sure what I had just seen or what was going on exactly. I had to finish getting ready for school.
When I got to school, students were talking about hijacking and terrorists. I will be honest. I didn’t know what either of those words meant. My school, unlike many other schools in our country, was in total denial. We went on with our regular school schedule. No TV. Just schoolwork.
I was called down with the rest of the volleyball team and told that our game had been canceled. The team we were playing was too close to our nuclear site and we weren’t allowed to go out there. I was angry. This was stupid. I called my mom to tell her that our game had been canceled, when she told me that our site was coined one of the top places that could be hit next. Next? What did she mean, next? She clued me in on the Pentagon being hit. She also told me that my cousin, who worked in a government building in DC was ok, but to keep him in my prayers. I was worried about my dad. He worked as a security guard at the nuclear site. My mom told me he wasn’t sure what he would have to do yet, but he was pretty sure he would have to go into work.
I was less angry about my volleyball game being canceled. More worried about my dad. He did get called into work. We didn’t see him for what felt like weeks. I don’t think he has ever worked so much in his life. They had some strange things happen out there the next few days and he had to be out there to help.
I remember learning more about the attacks. Learning that they were all innocent people’s lives that were taken away. Our newspaper had tons of photos in it the next day. One was a man jumping from the building. That picture is forever engrained in my memory. I remember thinking that it must have been really bad if your one slight chance of survival would be to jump from a skyscraper. We, like many other American families became big fans of the news. We watched it nonstop. We saw all of those poor families trying desperately to find their loved ones. I heart hurt. All of those kids who had lost their moms and dads that day.
Eventually, our lives started going back to the “normal” routine. We didn’t watch the news as often. My dad was working less and less until it was back to his normal full time schedule. What didn’t go back, was my memory. I never forgot what I saw and what I felt. My mom made all of us write down our memory of Sept. 11, 2001. It is in a box with the newspaper from Sept. 12 too. I haven’t read what I wrote down, but I don’t think I have really forgotten anything since then either. I will never forget. I am sure you won’t either.
Remember those who have made sacrifices for our country. Tell your loved ones that you love them and give them a squeeze before they walk out that door. Remember September 11.
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