September 11, 2001 is one of those days that will stay with you, a day that you will always remember, no matter what. There are days that stick with you, days that you remember every detail, everything you did, and September 11, 2001 is one of those days for me.
I was sitting in my ninth grade world history class with Mr. Fike. Class was just getting started when our principal, Dr. Thurber, came over the announcements. We all stopped because announcements during the day was unusual. Dr. Thurber started speaking in a very grave tone and proceeded to tell us that a plane had hit one of the Towers in NYC and it was believed to be a terrorist attack. He didn't give many other details since at that time we didn't know anything else. I remember wondering what the WTC Tower was and what was happening. After his announcement, my teacher turned on the tv instead of starting the lesson and we all just sat in silence, watching the news coverage. Several minutes later, we saw the second plane hit. It was devastating and terrifying to see it happen live. Soon after, we saw the coverage of the plane hit the Pentagon. The entire time, we all just sat in silence. Shortly after, it was announced that we would be having an emergency early dismissal that day. I remember going to band next, and instead of getting our instruments out, we all just sat together, talking, crying, wondering what was happening. Thankfully, I didn't know anyone personally at either site but I knew one of my classmate's fathers worked in the towers. We were all wondering what had happened to him.
We left school early that day. Everyday I took the bus to the elementary school where my mom worked. We picked up the middle schoolers first and they knew too. The bus was so silent that day. I remember getting off the bus and walking through the halls of the elementary school. I walked into my mom's classroom and watched all of the fifth graders, happy and excited that they got to go home early for "no reason" and thought to myself, "They have no clue. They have no idea what has happened. They shouldn't be laughing." I could tell that the staff knew, their faces were somber and scared.
Once the students dismissed, my mom, my brother, and I got in the car to head home. We talked a little bit about what had happened on the way home. We spent the rest of the evening in front of the TV, just watching the coverage over and over again. We got a call saying that school was cancelled the next day and went back to watching the coverage. I remember them saying at one point that where we lived was only seven miles from DC as the crow flies. It seemed so close and it scared me being that close. I remember having trouble sleeping that night, thinking about all that I had seen that day.
September 11, 2001 is a day I will never forget. I will never forget the patriotism that America showed in the following days, weeks, months. I'll never forget hearing that my classmate's father had died in the WTC towers, or watching the news for another attack, or the first time I went to NYC after 9/11. It's a day that is now in history textbooks. It's a day that I wish I could teach my first graders about, but they're too young for that. It's a day that I will never, ever forget.