September 11, 2001

I don’t know where you were on that day…maybe you were a student. 

All I know is that I was the teacher and it was only the second week of school.  I dropped my baby girl off at daycare that morning.  It was a special day because she was 6 months old.  I was walking my class down the hall when another teacher stopped me and asked me if I heard the news.  What news?  What is going on?  She whispered to me what they thought was happening to our country right then and all I could do was hold myself together to get down the hall.

These little people depend on me to keep it together.  I wasn’t allowed to turn the TV on in the classroom, and there was no other way to get news.  At lunch, I sought out other teachers and asked them if they knew what was going on.  They hadn’t heard either.  We didn’t have cell phones that got internet back then, so most of us had no idea what was happening.  The towers were falling in New York and I had goose bumps going all up and down my arms.  I think I called my mom to check on my cousin then.  My cousin lived in New York and her family lived in D.C.  Luckily, all my relatives were accounted for.  It was such a blur.  I heard the Pentagon was under some sort of similar attack, but surely the news didn’t have all the facts.  I mean the first plane was an accident right?  But then they were saying there was a second and some mishap over Pennsylvania.

I had a class to teach and a baby to get home to.  I started praying.  Prayer belongs where you need it, and I needed it.  It seemed the longest day of my life.  There are no words to describe how good it felt to scoop my baby girl up in my arms after work that day.  I went home and turned on the TV.  It looked like a scene from a badly made television movie.  That’s my country you are destroying.  Who would do such a thing?  It was horrible to watch then, and it is horrible to think about now.  People deciding their fate that day were so brave.  They jumped out of windows to escape fire, and it made me cry even more.  They took down a plane to save others not knowing if they would be saved themselves.  They went back into buildings and helped people not knowing if they could help themselves back out.  The stories poured out and we watched, listened, and learned of a country so resilient our forefathers would be proud.

The next day, they were still piecing together the news, but I knew I had a job to do.  When I turned and faced the flag that morning to lead the class in the Pledge of Allegiance as usual, my voice was a little bit louder.  A tear slipped down my face and I stood up straighter.  Everyday since then, when I lead my class in reciting the pledge, my voice is loud and strong and always will be.  “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Great tragedy has come to us, and we are meeting it with the best that is in our country, with courage and concern for others because this is America. This is who we are.”  ~George W. Bush

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