Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering our 9/11s

This morning I read an absolutely "brutiful" blog post by a friend remembering her story of 9/11. She was there. IN New York. Wondering about friends and family. Struggling to get home. Scared about what was next. My story is not like hers, but I realized that mine is still my story to tell-- to share-- with you and someday with my children. I was teaching 5th grade that year in a small Indiana town. I had just taken my class to library and went into the teacher's workroom to make some last minute copies. The room had an eerie quietness to it (usually you could hear those in the front office laughing it up). That's when I looked up at the tv monitor above the copy machine. I saw the first image. A plane hitting a skyscraper in New York. I thought, "How tragic!". I wondered what happened to the pilot that made him run into such a tall building and then, live, I saw the second plane hit. It was obvious that this was no accident. Even though I was numb, in shock, I had to go pick up my 20-something students from library and carry on. As I made my way back to our classroom, with students following behind, I wondered what was in my planbook that day, and how it could be even kind of important compared to what just happened. Another fifth grade teacher stepped outside her room and said to me, "You know, in times like these, it's okay to turn on your tv and let the kids watch.". And that's what we did. I'm sure we did other things that day. I know parents were allowed to come get their kids if they chose. But all I remember is watching, with a big group of 5th graders. They kept asking me questions and all I could say was, "I don't know". Who has the answers when terrorists hyjack planes with the intent to kill and kids want to know why? I certainly didn't. I remember a rough and tough, football playing, pain-in-my-butt student looking over at me while we were watching. I couldn't help it; the tears were falling and I couldn't hold them back for anyone, not even for him. I remember going home that night and grading papers, and eating dinner, all while glued to the television, hoping, praying good news would come. My husband and I had just found out about a week before that we were pregnant with our first child. I remembering wondering what we were thinking. How could we bring an innocent child into this kind of world? This wasn't the land of the free and the home of the brave. No, in my US, there are no terrorists on our soil. After that I remember there being lots of talk about heroes in the class. Lots of new stories came to light about heroes-- heroes in the Twin Towers, heroes on the planes, heroes saving those in the rubble. I hope that what those now 20 or 21 year olds remember is that we talked about the heroics of everyday people. I don't mean to belittle what extrodinary people did in the aftermath of 9/11, but most of them were just ordinary people who made choices which made them extrodinary. That we can all do. WE can choose to be extrodianry to someone who needs us!

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