Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You?

On September 11, 2001, I was teaching Math to about 30 sixth graders in Kingsport, Tennessee. I can still remember the coolness in the air as I got in my car and headed to work that morning. I had about a 30 minute drive to the school that I was teaching at and I took notice of the crystal blue skies that morning. After teaching the 1st and 2nd period classes, my cell phone rang. I had a student that was withdrawing from school at my desk. When I picked up my phone, I was surprised to hear Jason on the other end of the phone. He quickly told me what had just happened in the 5 minute break between 2nd and 3rd period. At that moment, I completely froze! Everyone was still moving around me and no one knew the news. I quickly ran out into the hallway and found the other sixth grade teachers and told them what had just happened. I found it very odd to be the one passing along the news, like it was some kind of a dream. We all immediately ran down to the library and turned on the TV to see the devastation. I was completely lost and afraid. I did not understand what had just happened and why. We were able to watch the TV for a few minutes before heading back to our classrooms. I remember walking back down the hallway and thinking about what I had just seen. Do I tell my 3rd period class? Do I just put on a happy face and pretend like nothing happened? Do I teach? What should I do? I was at a complete loss for what to do next. I think that the students picked up on my emotions, but I did my best to begin teaching the lesson for the day. One by one, my students were immediately being called to the office for dismissal. I remember seeing the looks on their faces. At first, the students were kind of excited - they were leaving school, but then all of their looks turned to confusion. It was at this point that I closed the book, put down the chalk and sat down in front of my students and told them what had happened. I was flooded with questions that I was not able to answer. I really don't remember what happened from that point forward. I do remember my drive home. I remember coming into the house and hugging Jason. We sat down on the couch and began watching the news. I think that we stayed up until midnight that first night. Everything around us stopped.

In 2002, Jason and I vacationed in New York City. We had a great time seeing all of the sights and taking in a game at Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium. On our first day, we made it down to Ground Zero. The posters were still hanging along the fence and the construction vehicles were moving around the debris. The silence at Ground Zero was noticeable.

Today, my heart goes out to all of the families that lost a loved one on this day seven years ago. The memories of that day are forever etched on my heart.

Ground Zero, 2002


Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

Johnny and I had only been married 4 months and were living in Charleston, SC. We didn't have cable at the time, but a friend called and told me what was going on. Her husband was also in the navy and she told me that some other military personnel had come into the gas station where she worked and told her that there had already been an order put out for EVERY military person to be sent over to Iraq. Knowing what I know now, that was crazy, but I was a brand new military wife and had no idea. I immediately lost it emotionally and then went to the tv and plugged up the cable to the wall and prayed for reception. I got a scrambled news channel and was able to "see" the wtc fall. Thankfully the sound came in so I was able to hear what was going on. To my suprise, Johnny came home from the school he was in that day and I lost it yet again. I just knew that he was coming home to pack his bags. He reassured me that he wasn't, and he was right. Praise God that he was on a submarine, not much hand to hand combat required from them. Johnny's naval career was not without it's hardships, but there were very few times I was ever truly worried that he wouldn't come home. My heart and prayers go out to all those that have had to send a husband, wife, son, daughter, etc, off to the war.

We too made a trip to NY, in 2003. Seeing Ground Zero was truly an amazing experience. After reading your post I went back and looked through our trip pictures, still such emotion just seeing them. I can't even begin to imagine what those poor people went through.

TARA said...

We were vacationing at Hilton Head SC - our first time there. We were getting ready to go out to the beach when the report of a small engine plane running into the WTC. Later I went back to our hotel to for something and watched in confusion as another plane hit the other tower.

We had planned to head down to Disney World the next day. For the first time in it's history, WDW closed down. We were not in much of a vacationing spirit. We cut our vacation short and came home.


I was getting ready for the day in my dorm room at Lipscomb. My roommate's sister called and told us what was going on. We turned on the TV and couldn't believe it. I will never forgot what campus was like that day. Nobody was talking. People were crying and praying. Everyone was so somber. People were just walking around not knowing what to say or do. It seemed like a bad dream. It still is hard to believe that that really happened. I hope to go there one day.

Alisha said...

I was in an Economics class at Athens State. The teacher had given us a short break and we all were shocked when we walked out and saw what was going on on TV. I'll never forget how that crusty old teacher called us all back into class, said a few words about what had happened and then proceeded with his lecture like it hadn't really happened. I was so happy to get out of that class and get back home. We like you stayed up late watching the news and the towers falling over and over again. It was a day of shock and sadness at our place.
We are hoping that when we are in NYC next Christmas we can go check out Ground Zero. It is crazy to think that it has been that many years ago!