Whenever I see a clear blue sky I can't help but think "This is a 9-11 day". Although I was in Utah at the time of the attacks, our weather across the entire country was clear and sunny, the same type of weather they were having in New York.
I had just arrived at school, having missed my 7:30 a.m. faculty meeting because I had overslept. I remember a fellow teacher came into my room around 7:45 and told me to turn on the television, that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. My first thought was that it was a small plane that had hit it, until I turned on the t.v. and saw the burning buildings. My brain was trying to make sense of what I was seeing.
I remember on NBC they were talking to people on by phone who were trapped on the top of the buildings. They were inhaling smoke and it was very hot and they were panicking. I kept thinking, there's no way the fire fighters are going to reach them in time. And then, the first tower collapsed.....I remember crying out, covering my mouth, and thinking "No!!" Disbelief....Then my real world crashed in.
The bell rang and I had to go pick up my little first graders and bring them in to start the school day. I had to turn off the t.v. and go....and I didn't want to. I wanted to stay glued to the t.v. As I was bringing the children in the building one of the teachers came up to me and told me the second tower had just fallen. Shock. I had to stay emotionless for my students. Unfortunately, that day we had scheduled a field trip to a local farm. As soon as we took attendance we loaded the kids on buses and we were gone for most of the day.
I remember sitting behind the bus driver so I could listen to the radio. We learned that all planes were being grounded. That a plane had hit the Pentagon. I remember looking up at the sky and seeing and hearing no airplanes later in the morning. I remember feeling anxiety that I was cut off from the television.
I remember some of the kids saying to me as they came into school that morning that they had seen a plane hit a building and the building was on fire. I had to tell them that it had happened very very far away and that they were safe. For days after 9-11 my students drew pictures of the planes and the burning buildings they were seeing on t.v. in their journals. My focus when I was at home was on what was happening at Ground Zero. My focus when I was at work was to protect the children and make them feel safe.
It does not feel like it has been ten years since that day. I remember it so clearly. I remember the students who were in my class at that time. I remember the feeling of wanting to be close to my family, to fly my flag, to be united with my country.
Where were you on 9-11? Please share your experiences in a post below....