Friday, September 11, 2009

where were you?

I thought I would take a little break from talking about ovaries and infertility to discuss the significance of today.

Today is September 11, 2009.

I was a junior in high school and I was in my second period class. I think it was called Integrated Math, or something like that, but all of us called it "stupid math." (And I can get away with saying that because I really was stupid at math.)

The teacher next door was notorious for letting the kids in his class goof off and watch TV. Just before 9 a.m., one of the students in that class came running over with the news: A plane had just hit one of the World Trade Center towers. My teacher stopped class immediately and turned on the news. A few minutes later, our principal came over the intercom:

"I'm sorry to interrupt, but a plane has hit the World Trade Center. Would everyone please turn on their televisions?"

We all watched in horror as the second plane hit, just before the bell rang for third period. Like many students, I had to walk over to the north campus for my next class. I don't think I've ever walked so fast in my entire life. There was an eerie feeling in the halls, and people were eager to get to their next class and the closest television.

By the time I arrived at my third period class (History), news had already broken about the Pentagon. We all hovered around the TV, some of us hugging, some of us crying. My teacher. I will never forget the look on her face. She was so upset. She told us all to use our cell phones or the classroom phone to call our families. The first person I called? Mom. She couldn't get a hold of her sister, whose husband often did business in both towers. Where was my uncle? We finally got in touch with him. He was at his office in Connecticut. His was at the World Trade Center just days before the attack. My dad was just outside of DC at the time, watching the smoke from the Pentagon. My dad's stepfather had just delivered seafood in Manhattan and was stuck in traffic in Brooklyn when the first plane hit. Too many people too close to the attacks.

Right around the time the first tower fell, our principal came back over the intercom. There was a bomb threat. As if the hysteria of the day wasn't enough, now this. Without any order, we ran out of the classroom and gathered with other students between the north and south campuses. We stayed on our cell phones, trying to get as many updates as possible from our parents. Still on the phone with my mom, I begged her to come pick me up, not because I was scared, but because I couldn't imagine going back to class and pretending like everything was okay. Everyone who had a car was now making their way to the parking lot to try and leave campus. Even though our house was about a ten minute drive from campus, it took my mom nearly 45 minutes to get to me. Traffic was insane as Universal Studios and Disney had both evacuated their parks and told their employees to go home.

The rest of the day was a blur. I remember my mom and me sitting in silence on the drive back home. I remember stopping along the way to pick up my little brother from school. He was just ten years old at the time. My mom explained later why she pulled us both out of school:

It wasn’t because she was scared for our safety. She didn't know what was happening, but she knew that, whatever it was, it was big. And she wanted us to watch.

So that's what we did. We went home and watched. The smartest thing my mom did that day was stick a tape in the VCR. She was watching the Today show when the news first broke, and she captured almost everything.

I don’t remember crying that day. I know I must have, but I just remember thinking, “This is history. This is to me what JFK’s assassination is to my mom, or what Pearl Harbor was to my grandparents. But this . . . this will forever change America. Nothing and no one will ever be the same after today.”

Eight years. Where were you eight years ago?

1 comment:

onemoreinthemix said...

Great post. We were just talking about this last night over at my IL's house. I was 24, in grad school and helping my dad out by working in one of his retail stores. I had just gotten out of the shower and was watching the Today Show when it all started. I watched forever (in horror), but was lucky that I didn't know anyone in the parts of the country being targeted. I went on in to open the store, but continued to watch all day on the tiny 8 inch TV we kept there.

Such a sad day.