Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Later

25 Most Powerful Photos
This morning I was watching Atley play with his New York City building blocks. As he played I watched him take one of his toy airplanes and fly it into one of the Twin Towers. My first reaction was to get really angry, but then I saw the pained expression on his face and the tears in his innocent eyes. First, I thought I should really keep this kid from watching the news, but more importantly I realized how the events of that day impacted all Americans even those yet to be born. Something was taken from each of us.
I was teaching geography to 9th graders in Heber City, Utah on September 11th. I was watching the Today Show as I prepared for my homeroom kids to arrive. I looked up from my lesson plans when I heard breaking news of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. The news was still on when my students entered the classroom. They had only been in their seats for a few minutes, eyes anxiously glued to the TV, watching coverage of what we thought was a horrific plane crash. But then the second plane hit the second tower. Even at 15 years old, they knew that this was something much bigger than just a plane crash. A chubby boy named Jeff stood up and said, "Holy shit! I think we are under attack!" Jeff is now a teacher himself mostly working overseas and teaching kids English. The principal came over the intercom requesting that all students remain in homeroom. These 33 kids were with me most of the day as we watched the events unfold. I did my best to answer their questions and keep my composure, but it was tough. A girl named Robin had a father working in NYC that morning. They were unable to reach him on his cell phone and her mother eventually checked her out of school so that they could be together while waiting for news. My students decided to pray for her dad. He was fine. But, nothing would ever be the same. Those kids are now 25. I am in contact with a few of them and I know that several joined the military to fight for their country because of the events they watched with me that day.
My own children have been to Ground Zero. They have been to the Pentagon. There is a tangible mix of overwhelming emotions when you visit these places. A palpable reverence.  Even as young children, my usually rambunctious boys were somber. As a family we will never forget what happened that day, the terror, the pain, the disbelief, and most importantly the bravery of the first responders and the heroes on that plane in a Pennsylvania field. The way that America came together in such a remarkable way was unprecedented.  When my classroom of students and I heard that a third plane had hit the pentagon, I thought we were finished. I felt certain this would destroy us. I underestimated the American Spirit and I am so thankful that I did! 
God Bless America!

1 comment:

G&G said...

Good comments, it is always interesting to find out what people were doing when it happened. What an experience to be a teacher and leader in that situation.