Sunday, September 10, 2006

Remembering


On September 11, 2001, I was teaching. We were giving a state mandate test where we could not be disturbed. On the way to the office to turn everything in an aide said “There has been a terrorist attack, turn on your TV.” Both towers had been hit and I was standing there in a room full of 11 years olds asking what’s going on.

I was stunned. I certainly did not know what to tell them. I was trying to form some explanation when another news flash came on – the Pentagon had been hit. I started crying as I realized that the attach was still going on. I know my crying upset some of the children but I couldn’t stop. I thought back to my first grade experience when my teacher had burst into tears upon hearing that President Kennedy had been killed. The bell rang sending my student off to other teacher while I had planning. I had never seen 800 students move so quietly.

I stood in the office with my principal and some other teacher in total silence and watched the towers fall. I wanted my children, my own. I thought of calling Mollie at her school but she was too little. I would have cried when I heard her voice which would have been the worse thing. My son was at my school though, in the 8th grade. I walked to his room not knowing if he would want his mother in his to intrude. Every classroom had it TV on. Went my son’s teacher saw me peeking in the door he motioned me in. My son reached out and took my hand, his was ice cold. I felt better for having seen him but the rest of the day was mostly a blur.

I do remember a few of my students asked if they could go out in the hall to pray once they came back to me. I went out with them but let them say what they felt in their prayers. I remember all those kids, I always will. We shared history. Although I remember I am not yet ready to see movies about the events. I don’t mind them being made, I just can’t watch. Maybe someday.

Written by PK at 9:39 PM

9 comments

9 Comments:

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Elis honey,

I have memeories of my own and they came flooding back as I read this post. I'd been visiting my mom again several weeks after bringing my kids to visit with her for the first time in many years (the first time she'd ever seen her grandson). We had a rocky relationship, my fault entirely, that deteriorated dreadfully in my adult years. Anyway, when we all visited, I discovered she was ill, quite ill, in fact... but had never told me. I went back a few weeks later, unable to be away from her, feeling that I had little time left... wanting desperately to make up for it all somehow, to replace all those years of angry words and stubborn silence with love and enjoyment and connection...

Anyway, things went well that trip, but oh, she was indeed dying... withering away before my eyes yet refusing any help. That morning she had an appointment for a pedicure and I awoke early and Dante emailed me to tell me to turn on the news... oh, God, I saw it all. I turned it on as the first tower was hit and we sat there together, my dying mother and I, crying and clinging to each other.

She worried that it was the beginning of the end of the world and in oh, so many ways, for many years, for me it was... after that day she just gave up completely, too tired and afraid of the future to go on, even though we managed to reconcile in the last six weeks before her death in November, 2001. That day and that moment, personifies my loss just as deeply as it personifies it for all those who literally lost loved ones in the disaster that day.

I've been to the site once since then, I've taken pictures, I've seen the empty space where the towers once sat, the aftermath. We visited just a few months after the tragedy, and the pain is all-consuming for me, even now. MY own pain and my own loss and the same loss of thousands of others, lives shattered and irreversibly torn apart by crazed anger and insanity and lust for power and lack of respect for human life.

Thank you, sweet Elis, for sharing your story here today. I try to push this pain away and hide it. Sometimes, though, I need to be reminded of its presence in my life, and of all those still suffering. Thank you!

Love,
Tiggr

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger Theresa said...

I also wanted to run get my child. But as it turned out he was in very good hands. He was with someone who could comfort him and explain to him what was happening. He was with someone who prayed with him. He was with a teacher. God Bless you all for taking care of our children and especially on that one tragic day.

 
At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Elis,
This story just made me cry.

I got to be at home, be with my husband. I got to cry privately. How hard it must have been to deal with all that and have the eyes of the young ones upon you.

God bless you and all the other teachers that had deal with our children on that day.

Love
Grace

 
At 1:03 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Dear Elis, I remember not believing my eyes when I first saw this. My heart is with you all on this day.
Warm hugs,
Paul.

 
At 2:07 PM, Blogger FelineFrisky said...

Oh, Elis, I cried. Something I have been doing lots of since Friday. D

 
At 4:39 PM, Anonymous eva said...

Elis~ I'll never forget. I think that had to be the longest day in my teaching career. The kids just didn't understand. They were scared. They were shocked. They looked to me with questions that I just didn't have any answers for.

God bless the USA... please.

Eva

 
At 7:46 PM, Anonymous cathy said...

I can not watch the movies about it yet

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger New Beginnings said...

Tiggr,
No matter if you have been close to your mom forever or had a rocky relationship, losing them is one of the hardest things we will every experience. I lost my Mom in 2003 and Dad almost a year ago. Having to deal with watching her fade away in at a time of national tragedy would compound this so much. I am glad you have survived and continue to love.

Theresa,
You don't know how much these words mean. Thank you!

Grace,
Much of the day I was think that I just wanted to gather my parents, my kids, Nick and I together and lock the world out.

Paul,
No one could believe people could do this to one another. Thank you for being with us.

Diane,
This brings sad memories for all of us.

Eva,
It was a day that is a part of my history but I pray to never see another like it.

Cathy,
The older I get the more things I cannot watch. Hatred, cuelty and violence are at the top of my list.

Elis

 
At 4:40 AM, Blogger aaron21 said...

See I know that I have a different experience. Mainly because I'm 21 and I was 17 at the time. I was a junior and am a male. I didn't know about it till I went out in the hall before second period.

Was none stop chatter and talking. I think me and my friends were looking at it as more of a "are we going to have to go and fight". I do remember hearing even the Coach *Who was the history teacher* talking about possible Draft. Or, at least the word was spoken. So yeah it was scary and interesting looking back on it. I have an Uncle in the service. He's Army and a lifer really.

I don't know what has happened since 9/11. If we screwed up since then. Which I think we have. I don't know really where all the conspiracy theories come from. But, I think that stems from Our government and President.

I think though 9/11 was much more then a world change but social change too.

 

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