It was a day much like today: a quiet morning, not a cloud in the sky, and a crisp chill in the air. I waited for the bus to take me to fourth grade that morning, and as unaware as I was then, I remember every second of that day all of these years later.
In my art class that morning, I remember watching my teacher get a phone call from the office, she burst into tears. We started to mumble, the girls at my table, thinking maybe something had happened to her son. I watched our teacher, as the rest of the class seemed not to notice, composed herself and tried her best to act as if everything was okay.
We moved into our next period, and I remember the teachers were all a buzz. They were running around and whispering to one another. We were notified that we were on lock down. Slowly, students were being called for dismissal; I was one of the first. I remember that my Grandfather was supposed to pick me up later for my dentist appointment, and that he must be taking me early because something was wrong with the school.
Greeted by my Mother, I was confused. She quickly escorted me outside. It was beautiful, peaceful, silent. As we were walking to her car, I saw my friend Hannah’s Mom rushing inside, and asked if we could have a play date that day. Her Mom looked at me with a panic, and my Mom assured me, we would play another day.
We weren’t even out of the parking lot before my Mom told me what was happening. I remember asking if they were jumping out of the planes first, and why someone would want to do something like that.
It was because we were Americans. They hated us, whoever they were. An in my little fourth grade mind, I wanted to protect my family. When we got home, I tried to remove the American flag from our porch, because I though, if they were out there, they wouldn’t hurt us if we didn’t show we were Americans. I’m glad my Mom stopped me in my attempt- that flag still fly’s outside with pride.
My Mother and I sat in our living room, glued to the television. I can tell you exactly what color the walls where, what furniture was where, and what I was eating for lunch. We sat there, and I asked questions: Why is this happening? What are we going to do? What is that falling from the buildings?
They weren’t falling, they had jumped and I couldn’t grasp why. I thought the firemen would save everyone, and would put out the fires. That everyone would be okay, that it would all be okay. And then it fell.
Watching the first building fall was the moment I started to realize the magnitude of what was happening. I remember looking back and fourth from the TV to my Mother and really feeling fear. Not long after the first tower fell, a roar came over our house.
I was frozen in fear- completely paralyzed. I knew the sound was a plane, but the planes were all grounded. I couldn’t move, I just sat there with eyes as big as ever, looking at my Mother, who was giving me the same exact look. I was convinced we were going to die.
I followed my Mom into our deck to get a better idea of what was approaching. I fighter jet zoomed directly over our house; Mom told me they were going to protect our borders, and that we would be okay. It took me about six years, to shake the crippling fear that came over me each time I heard a plane approaching.
As the rest of the terrors unfolded that day, my family joined together in my Grandparents house. My cousin, Zack, was only three months old, and I remember looking at him thinking, how odd that he would not have any memory of this. I sat down at one point to complete my homework, and upon writing the date, I again sat perplexed in fear. 9/11/01. I asked my Mom if they chose today on purpose because of the date, and if this meant it was the first of more attacks.
They next few days we all remained glued to the television as America tried to grasp what had happen and as rescue efforts took place. When we returned to school, patriotic music played with the morning announcements. Each holiday after, I fought off fear that another attack would happen. I sensed a change in people. We all were now more aware of our vulnerability, but stood proud to be Americans.
Sixteen years later, we come to another day of remembrance. It is not just another day though. I wrote this post to commemorate a fourth graders perception of the world around her, that September day. So many children learn about today in their history textbooks, and so many more were directly impacted from those horrible attacks.
My prayers continue to go out to the families of those who were directly impacted in the attacks of September 11th. I am continually thankful for all of the men and women who risked their lives to save others. My prayers also, continue to go out for America, for we all were impacted, and effected in some way. May we join together with our fellow Americans and remember that we must have one another’s back, and be proud once again, to be from this great land.