19 years ago today, one of the worst terrorist attacks happened on American soil. A group of hijackers from the Middle East stole 4 comerical airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Where were you on 9/11?
I was 6 years old on 9/11. My mom and I just moved into our new house maybe a week before. I had just started first grade. Since I was only 6, I don’t remember a lot about that day, but there are a few things that stick out in my mind.
I remember being in the classroom while my teacher was teaching. I remember my brother had a nosebleed and went to the office. I remember him coming back and telling our teacher two buildings were hit by airplanes. I remember my teacher asking him to repeat it. I remember her looking really sad.
The rest of the day is blurry. I don’t remember if I stayed at school or if my mom picked me up, but I remember coming home. I remember seeing the news on for hours, replaying the footage over and over again. In my young mind I remember thinking “Why do they keep crashing planes into buildings? Someone should stop them.” It took me awhile to realize it was the same buildings and they just kept replaying the footage.
As the days followed, I remember my mom trying to explain to me what happen. I remember her being really sad and even scared to send me back to school. I remember my grandma being at our house and getting very sad and angry at the tv.
I remember that fall it was very patriotic. There were so many American flags being flown. I remember many people singing patriotic songs on tv and asking for money for the victims and families effected. I remember my teacher drawing the shape of a pentagon on the white board and explaining that a plane crashed into this building as well as the towers.
As I have reflected back on this day over the years, I have realized that I remember a lot more than had thought. I am also seeing that much of my education and childhood was certainly effected as I like many others had to grow up in a world after 9/11. I can recall numerous accounts of class conversations with our teachers about Osama Bin Ladin, terrorist attacks, 9/11, war etc.
Around the age of 16, I found an interest in 9/11. I think it is because it is a historic event that occurred in my lifetime that I somewhat remember. It truly is a sad moment in our history, but at the same time I find so much strength and resilience in hearing survivor’s stories. Though I know it will be hard, one goal I have is to someday visit Ground Zero and walk through the 9/11 memorial and museum. I say it will be hard because it is one thing to read and see the history and events of that day on a screen, but it is another to experience the location of that day and see it at that large magnitude.
Now that I am an adult and teaching preschoolers, I often wonder if anything like this will ever happen again. I hope not. I really really hope not. But if it did, how would I respond as a teacher. Personally, I don’t think I would be able to hide my sadness, as much as I would want to. I think I would try to protect and give to my kids love and comfort as best as I could… much like my first grade teacher did.
I do want to take a moment and say, I am thinking of all the people who were lost on 9/11 including the first responders and the average hardworking Americans. I am praying for all the families and friends who lost a love one that day. I also want to thank the many men and women who went to war right after 9/11 to fight for our freedom and the war against terror.
I also want to leave you with one last memory I have. This memory isn’t from 9/11 exactly but the many months after. I remember my class was on a field trip in the spring. It was very rainy and I don’t exactly remember where we were coming back from, I want to say it was from the nature center. Anyway, I remember riding the bus and playing with my friends on the bus. At some point the bus driver turned on the radio and the song God Bless the USA came on. Many of us kids started singing since this song was played often, we knew it very well. Before long the chaperones, my teacher and the bus driver were all singing to this song. To this day it still gives me chills thinking about how many of us children could not comprehend the magnitude of what happen that year, and yet we learned so much about violence, terror, bravery, freedom and how to be proud Americans.
May we never forget.