On September 11th, 2001 my 2nd period teacher was called out of the classroom for just a few seconds. I didn’t think much of it, and she pretty much managed to cover and keep going as if nothing had happened. The bell rang and we all tromped off to 3rd period. I walked across the hall to my 7th grade US history class. Things started as usual, until over the announcements came a long list of students names for dismissal. I believe it happened at least one or two more times until our class became restless with not knowing why so many people were being called for dismissal.
My teacher somewhat emotionally indicated that some sort of tragedy had taken place, and that in these times families would need to be together. As you can imagine, this wasn’t the most calming thing he could have said. I guess in his defense, we were 25 miles from Washington, DC, and for all he knew all of our parents our parents worked at the Pentagon. For all he knew, each of us might have known someone who was lost that day.
My name was one of the many in the next list they called over the loud speaker. After my teacher’s emotional words it rang like a death sentence. One of my friends gasped, and everyone watched as I stood up and took my books and left to go to my locker.
I remember being so nervous that it took me a couple tries to get my locker open and I had to mentally calm down to remember what books I would need at home. I tried as fast as I could to get my stuff and leave, because it was the not knowing that was unbearable. The walk down the long hallway of my middle school seemed like forever. Finally, I got to the office where my mom was waiting for me. I wanted to know what was wrong, and if everyone was okay. She was outwardly calm but I could tell she was unnerved. She said everyone was fine but she just thought it would be better for me to come home.
We spent the rest of the day mesmerized by the news coverage. I watched the second of the towers fall from our family room couch. It was all we could talk about. I remember standing on the sidewalk in front of our house, talking to neighbors. The sky was so blue and so quiet. We lived five miles from Dulles Airport, and the absence of planes in the sky was eerie and ominous.
In the event of the ten year anniversary, I have found myself sucked in by the coverage. I’ve read many articles I’ve come across, I even bought the People magazine with the children of men who were lost on the cover. I’ve cried on more than one occasion reading these articles. In a way, I think it has been good for me. It has been good to remember, to imagine what those people are going through. Despite the fact that 9/11 is a day that has come to define our time, it is easy to lose track of the individuals. Today is about remembering them. We will never forget.