Today is, of course, September 11. Five years and one day ago, that date was just a normal date - held no conotations, held no memories for most people; just a regular day. We all know that changed five years ago today. Where were you on September 11? That's a question our children and grandchildren will ask us. Like we ask them "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?"
Well on September 11, 2001 I was filling in for a teacher on leave in a 4th grade class. It was my first day on the job and somewhat bewildering. I wasn't sure what was going with the class or the kids but I spent the day trying to figure them out. About 10:00 that morning someone walked into the classroom and told me (very quietly) that a bomb had gone off at the WTC. Honestly, I didn't think it was a big deal. I had 15 upset and hormonal 4th graders on my hands - I had bigger problems. I had no idea of the scope of the tragedy until I got into my car at 4:30 that afternoon. All I heard on the radio was reports of the WTC coming down - I was in shock! I drove home (it was less than 5 minutes away) and asked my husband what in the world was going on. He'd been working at AL Power that day and had been sent home early (as were most people that day). When he explained what was happening I was shocked! There were rumors of gas shortages so we went to fill up our cars and then because that's what you do when your scared, we went to my mom's house. She worked for the government at the time and had been home all day watching the events unfolding. Once we got back home, we watched the news until bedtime. I'm sure neither one of us slept well that night and I know the first thing we did the next morning was turn on the TV. The next few days were spent discussing this event with those same (but now scared) 4th graders and trying to come to terms with the tragedy myself.
It's ironic how much a nation's tragedy can change your life. We all said we wouldn't let September 11 bring us down or affect our lives negatively and I don't think it has but there have been some changes. We no longer take our safety and security for granted. We're aren't immune or invincible like we thought. "Osama bin Laden," "Al Qaeda," and "highjacking" are all part of our daily vocabulary now. The world has changed since that Tuesday in September five years ago but I'd like to think that when D is in school one day and they are discussing 9/11 they'll mention the goodness that happened that day and the days after. I hope his teachers will remember the long lines of people willing to give blood, the celebrities in Hollywood who stopped looking at themselves for a few minutes and helped others, or the everyday people who sacrificed their time (and we're now learning their health) to save those people were trapped beneath those buildings. I believe out of every horrible event something good can be learned and I hope our country learned to help each other and lean on each other that day.
Where were you on September 11?