“I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” –President George W. Bush September 11, 2001.
My friend posted this quote on her Facebook page today and I thought it was perfect.
On September 11, 2001 I was 14 and in 9th grade. I remember running laps in my high school’s gym during Coach Scott’s P.E. class when my boyfriend, Andrew Moore (then 16) came in. He started talking to Coach Scott and then he came over to me. I thought he was skipping class to come see me but he wasn’t. He heard about the attacks in his history class and came down to tell me and my teachers.
I remember him telling me that one of the buildings at the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. I’ll never forget my response, “What’s that?” Andy filled me in, but I still didn’t get the severity and importance of what he told me. When class let out, I met Andy in the hallway, and he told me that the second tower had been hit. I still didn’t get it.
My next class was history, and I had the best teacher ever, Coach McCollum (aka “Sugar Bear”). Our principal made an announcement over the intercom telling students what happened and asking teachers to go about class as if it were a normal day. He asked that teachers continue their lessons and not turn on the news. My teacher said, “Today is not a normal day and this is a history class. Kids, you are watching history at this moment. Your lesson is to watch the news for this class period.” Even to this day I am so thankful that he went against the direction of our principal. I was finally able to understand what was happening to our country, and I was able to watch it all unfold in real time.
I remember some classmates crying and some students pulling out their cell phones to call their parents. Sugar Bear was so wonderful to us that day and he will forever be my favorite teacher for the way he handled the situation. He answered our questions and didn’t mind that we were on our phones, checking in with our parents.
I remember the day being a blur after that class. Many teachers tried to have a normal lesson but many students gave them a hard time and the teacher would eventually give in and let us watch the news. I don’t remember being scared. I just remember being shocked. The feeling at school was different than anything I had ever felt. Kids weren’t crazy or mean or a distraction. All of us were the same that day. We were all confused, sad, mad and afraid.
I have always been a scrapbooker and I remember a special edition of the newspaper came out later that night. That night I made a mini-scrapbook with the pictures and articles from it. I remember thinking that I wanted my children to see it one day. My son is almost 7 and he doesn’t understand what happened that day. He does know that bad guys killed many people that lived in our country on that day. The older he gets, the more we will tell him and I’ll have the pictures to show him what it was like for all of us.
I remember finally being scared a few days later when I was in bed one night. I couldn’t sleep and I had the news on in my room. I heard an airplane fly over our house and it terrified me. I remember being scared that we would get attacked again.
Over time life went back to normal, but as we all know, it was never the same. I lost a piece of my innocence that day that I’m sure my fellow students did too. I thought America was untouchable and that day made me realize that it isn’t.
However, that day taught me that America is made up of strong, courageous people. I pray for the people who lost their lives that day and their families. I am thankful for the men and women who enlisted into the military after that day and who were serving before the attacks. I wish that I could do something to help those people heal and let them know how courageous and brave I think they are. I wish I could personally tell each of those people what an amazing hero they are.
Those were my thoughts that day and they are the same today. Let us not forget September 11th. Save it for our children to share with their children. Let us learn from it, grow from it and never forget it.
What do you remember about September 11th? How did September 11th change your life?