Rachel Gardner challenged her blog readers to post their 9-11 memories/thoughts in 100 words or less. I hadn't planned on writing about September 11 because it seemed to me that so many others had so much more to write about the events than I did. However, after reading her blog, and after reading Maureen Johnson's post I started thinking. And writing. So, here are the thoughts that came to me.
September 11, 2001, found me teaching senior English to a small group of high school students in a school where my husband of less than six months also worked. We heard that something had happened when a student shared what she’d heard as she signed late in at the office. Since we had televisions in our rooms and they were connected to cable, we turned on a channel to check out what was happening. At the time, I agreed to turn on the television because I thought there'd be nothing going on, and that drop the subject so we could get back to class work.
I was wrong. We watched, and watched. None of us really said anything. It was one of the student’s birthday, and his mom had sent cupcakes via another student. We’d already each taken one, but as the period (100 minutes long) and news coverage continued, we ate all the cupcakes.
All of us got through that day, and at 3:00 p.m., we went home to watch the reports of everything that had happened and was still happening.
For days, afterwards, I insisted that we sleep with the television tuned to CNN or the radio on NPR, the volume very low, while we slept. Somehow I thought that if something else happened, even in my sleep, I’d be able to tell the difference in the coverage and wake up so I would know about it.
That’s one thing that got to me; the need to know what was going on, what was happening. Being in a classroom all day is very isolating as far as world events goes.
I was also very thankful that my family members were all safe.
My niece was in first grade, and her teachers did a magnificent job of keeping all their students calm and ignorant of what went on during the day of September 11, so that the children’s parents could explain things to them once they were home that evening. My sister-in-law walked my niece to school on September 12 and was telling her something like, “You might hear some things today, that some bad people did some things and hurt people. We’re sad about that, but you’re safe and we’re all safe, so you don’t have to worry.”
My niece’s response? “Why didn’t the bad people’s mommies and daddies do something to stop them?”
I've thought about that a lot since then.