I spent a lot of time feeling sad about the events surrounding September 11th. Now, I think I just feel angry.
I was very newly married and beginning a new school year teaching in a school that seemed so far from the career I'd started at that great little school in the Bronx. My friends and family were back in New York, but my new life was in New Jersey.
I was teaching a group of unassuming ninth graders when another teacher frantically came to my door. She waved me to her and I begrudgingly obliged, assuming the snack machine was down again the faculty lounge. I was so clueless.
The news of a plane hitting a tower seemed to rush out of her as some other apprehensive teachers watched my reaction from a distance. I remember trying to remember which building Tony (my husband's best friend) was in, and if this was another case of my 18th birthday.
When I was 18, I lived on Governors Island (next to the Statue of Liberty) and the first World Trade Center bombing occurred, prohibiting anyone from leaving the island since the ferry slip was located right in Battery Park. Like a truly narcissistic teenager, I was so angry at the inconvenience.
Anyway, the gravity of the situation had yet to sink in.
Minutes later the same frantic teacher appeared in my door to announce that the second tower had been struck....and the bottom kind of fell out of me.
The rule of teaching is, no matter what, you need to be the calming port in the storm for your students. No matter what situation might present itself, your children (yes, 15 year olds are still children) need to feel safe. They look to you for guidance, for security.
And then the Pentagon was hit.
I made it through fourth period, though I have no idea what or how I did.
When the kids bounced off to lunch, I broke down. They sent the New Yorker home early to try to make contact with a long list of people who may or may not be lost.
Friends and family at both towers.
My brother was supposed to be at the Pentagon.
My best friend was flying out of Logan for a business trip.
And the worst part was, I couldn't stop watching the television. Horrible images, unbelievable stories, and a sense that I should have been in New York.
Now, years removed, I still have a hard to reconciling all that happened...but I guess that's the point, there has been no reconciliation. When will there be?
****I know we all have our "Where were you when...." stories. Feel free to share them in the Comments. In particular, a request to my friend Sutty to share the "wedding table" story involving the Cantor Fitzgerald people.
2 years ago