I have my memories of the day we were attacked. You may have seen, read, heard all the memories you can handle by now. I won't mind if you skip here today. Ten years have passed and I don't dwell on what happened. We've talked about it in school on the anniversary and I can general anticipate the questions and we can have a rational discussion. This year we were sent a video we were supposed to show the students and then discuss it. I previewed the video Thursday afternoon before showing it on Friday. For some reason it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was in tears and couldn't seem to stop. Maybe it's all the '10th' anniversary talk, maybe it's because my LJ lives there now and works near ground zero. Like most moms I can't help wondering what if he had been there then?
The children I teach were a year old or less when this happened. To them it's much the same as the Civil war or Pearl Harbor. I talk before the video, I knew I couldn't afterwards. It was hard and I did cry a little but I had their complete attention. I wanted them to realize as they watched that it wasn't like an episode of 'Myth Busters' where you say "wow" or "cool explosion". I needed them to realize that this happened to ordinary people, going to work, traveling to see their family. I want them to watch it with respect for all those lost. And my student did.
This is what I was doing the day it happened.
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 “ We're under attack, turn on your TV.” My first thought was 'attack' what is she talking about? When I got my TV on 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 attack 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. LJ was at my school though, in the 8th grade. I walked to his room not knowing if he would want his mother to intrude. Every classroom had it TV on. When 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 lead the 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.