Six years ago today the world changed in an instant. The horror of the day and events in New York City, Washington DC, and Shanksville, PA will always be on the mind of those of us that lived through it . . . and for generations to come. Nothing will ever be the same and we must not forget.
Where were you on 9-11 when you heard about the events?
I had just gotten into a school where I was set to be a substitute for two days – this was day two. I was newly married, going to graduate school at night and working for a teacher that I knew. The teacher was at a wedding in Germany and it was the first days of school for the 1st graders in this building. She was on a flight back to the states that morning. This was complicated greatly due to the events of the day.
Soon after the kids arrived some of the teacher aids came into the room to ask if I had heard. Heard about what? At that point little was known. They simply knew that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. . . so much more was about to happen.
Immediately, my mind went to my father-in-law and JL’s best friend. Both of them work in NYC. Quickly the principal sent around a note to teachers telling us that they would provide coverage for all of us to call any loved ones to check in. Meanwhile we all had to stay calm and NOT let on about anything in front of the kids. A note would be sent home to them telling parents that they should talk to their children and councelors would be around in the morning. By the afternoon we had heard from the teacher I was in for. Her flight was rerouted to Canada and she could not get back to the States. I was asked to stay for the rest of the week. The principal knew me from my student teaching and asked if I would please help him out. He knew that there were no plans for the remaining three days, but was confident I could do something. I said I would do it. The kids needed something stable for them the first full week of school, especially since they knew their teacher was flying back that day.
By lunch time I was on the phone with JL again to see if he had heard anything from his father and friend. At that point we knew that my father-in-law was safe (he didn’t actually work too close to the WTC), but was stuck in the city and could not get back home. His friend was another story. We knew that he had just started working in the WTC. By the evening we knew just how lucky G was to be alive. G worked in a building next to the towers – one that was destroyed when the towers collapsed. That morning G was running late and came out of the subway tunnel just in time to see the plane hit. He turned around immediately and fled to go back home. He was one of the lucky ones, countless others did not have this fate.
The days that followed for very confusing for all of us, including the first graders that I was substitute teaching for. They didn’t know their teacher, they didn’t know what had happened and their little minds processed the events differently.
I know today my mind will partially be thinking about what happened 6 short years ago, the day all of our lives in this country and even the world changed. The day that terrorists came to our country and killed thousands of innocent men, women and children. The day that many families changed. The day that many husbands and wives saw their spouse for the last time. The day that many children lost a parent and will have to rely on photos and movies to help with the memories of their beloved mom or dad. It truly was a day when many of us lost our innocence.