Sunday, September 11, 2016

Nine Eleven, revisited~

Those of us who lived through the 9/11 attacks...

the World Trade Center,
the Pentagon,
the plane crash in a Pennsylvania field, a sacrificial effort by citizens aboard to avoid the White House

...each have our own story to tell.

I was teaching a captive audience of fifth graders at Hanover Middle School when my classroom door cracked open and a colleague beckoned me to the hall.  In a whisper, she told me a plane had hit the World Trade Center Tower, then cautioned me not to tell the kids.

I walked back into the classroom, dazed, scared, confused, making an attempt to cover the churning emotions, the fear.

Knowing so little...

the first tower had not yet collapsed,
the second plane had not struck, was easy to imagine that this was an all out attack on the country, the beginning of a war on our continent.

In hindsight, it was.

I was with a group of teachers huddled in the library office, staring the dusty TV on its rolling cart, watching the scene unfold. We stood in horrified silence, hands to our mouths, watching the slow motion crumpling of the tower. The only words spoken were, “Oh my God!” Over and over...

 “Oh, my God!”

I was more than 200 miles from the scene. A four-hour drive, at least.  But my heart leapt that distance and I was right there.

We were ALL right there.

Despite the 15 intervening years, I can return to that day instantly; my mind has not forgotten the horror I watched from afar.  I shared the terror and the grief, although it was in no way the same as those who were there on the island...

covered in dust as they tried to flee with no way out but by sea,
choosing to leap to death, rather than burn,
hearing sirens, crashing buildings, screaming people,
seeing bloodied friends...and maybe worse, not seeing someone,

...or for those who lost a loved one. For them, I‘m sure the 15 years dissolve in an instant and memory is still so immediate that it sears their hearts daily.

They can never forget.
Nor can we.
How could we?

Other posts... Memorials