September 11th is on the hearts and minds of folks around the country. Here are my remembrances for that day.
I had been teaching at a Middle school in the metro-DC area for all of 2 weeks. I was in Christa McAuliffe’s old room, and as I stood at my door looking at her plaque, waiting for the last stragglers to come to homeroom, at staff assistant came by and told me about the first Tower being hit. At the time we thought it was an accident. A few minutes later, while she and I were talking, the principal called all the VP's and hall monitors on the walkie-talkie to tell them about the 2nd tower and called an immediate meeting for them in his office. She and I just looked at each other, hugged, and knew we had a job to do. We still had not heard about the Pentagon or the plane in PA. I had spent a year researching the 1994 attack, and the group that the US claimed was behind it, so I knew exactly what was going on in the pit of my stomach. Luckily most of that day was a free reading time for my fist class, and I had just hooked up a computer in my room. I immediately go online and saw that the Pentagon had been hit, and in those early few minutes there were reports that the Mall in DC was hit (due to the smoke from the Pentagon). I went sheet white, and the kids picked up on it. It was a dilemma to tell them or not. Many had family (parents, brothers, cousins) in the areas that were reported to have been hit in DC). Toward the end of my 2 hours with them, 2 had already been pulled from class by their parents (the first of many that day). I knew I had to tell them what was going on, and being with me was the safest place for them, since I knew the most of anyone in the building, having spent years studying the subject of Islam and the Middle East. I told them, read some from the Washington Post Website out loud, and let them draw out their emotions on the blackboard. They were very brave, asked lots of great questions, and used me and each other to get through the day. Our team of teachers decided to tell the entire group (about 200) kids at lunch and have them come to me with questions. By the end of the day, we merged 4 classes (about 25 students that were left) and let them just watch the news with me, discussing and questioning. While I don't believe in a higher power that controls peoples daily lives, I do believe that I was put there at that time to help these 12 & 13 years digest a horrible day in American history.
Driving home that day, it was eerily quiet on the Beltway. There were lots of military jets flying real close to the ground, and not too many cars. The cars there were there were going slow and surprisingly, very polite about merging. Most had their windows down, and I could hear WTOP on lots of cars as we passed each other.
While 9/11 is a time of remembrance for the world, this time of year is a time that I remember more than just that day.
One year later, my area of DC was under attack by a vicious unknown serial killer. On the first day of his rampage, I was on bed rest (with a little doodle trying to come out early). I had asked Todd to go to the grocery store to get some things. We were equal-distant to 3 Safeway’s. I turned on the morning news, and found that 2 people had been shot at a Safeway parking lot near our house. Not knowing which store Todd had gone to, I was in a shear panic until he came back in the door. I was never so happy to see him in my life. Later that day, the killer went to a Middle School not far from the one that I taught at. The next few weeks, all outdoor activities at schools were canceled. We had to escort students to and from the buses, small groups at a time. The schools were on a complete lock down with cops everywhere. It was truly frightening.
Then a year after that, Hurricane Isabel hit. Todd was at a conference out West. Baby Aaron and I hunkered down in the basement with the dogs for 12 hours. Most of the time without power or phone service. I had managed one call to Todd that night before the worst part hit; to let him know were doing okay. I know that it was hard on him to not be there for us. We survived with only a little tree and deck damage (and 2 dogs that needed desperately to go out for a pee). When we went out a few days later, and on my way to school the following Monday, we saw the long lines of power company trucks from all over the East Coast, driving to our area to help restore. Places like the Carolina coast and Florida are used to it, but it was truly frightening for a hurricane to hit College Park MD! Seeing the outpouring from places as far away as GA, brought tears to my eyes (not a safe thing while driving on the Beltway!),
Then in November of 2004, my first love died when his helicopter was shot down in Iraq. This happened on my 32nd birthday. (Hence, me not celebrating my birthday anymore).
So September 11th is a day of remembarances for the coutnry and the world. It is the beginning of a time of great reflection for me, and a solemn beginning to a season of loss and fear from the past years. Thanks for reading my ramblings :) Peace to you and everyone around you this time of year.