Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I was teaching fifth grade. My kids were taking a test. My mom called, which was pretty unusual for her to call during school. I pulled up the news on the news on the Internet, and just stared. My co-teachers across the hall were hysterical. Our principal, who was useless, went around to each classroom warning all of the teachers not to say anything. Parents started picking up their kids. In the meantime, the front office had their tv on the entire time and they were all crying, so any students who had to go up there for any reason came back knowing something was wrong. After lunch, the rumors of the president's death and bombing of the White House got to be a little much, so I explained to my kids in very basic terms what had happened. I explained as much as I could without trying to terrify them. My principal tried to write me up for it, but I reminded her about the TV in the office and one of my parents had my back and told my principal off, pretty much. I left that school the next year.
The hubs, who was my boyfriend at the time, couldn't get through to his sister, who was working in one of the WTC buildings. We found out later that she was not in one of the two towers, but she did see the second plane hit the second tower. The stories that came out of NYC were heartbreaking. Firefighters talked about hearing the bodies hit the ground.....that people were deciding it was better to jump from 100 stories than endure the horrors of what was happening inside the building. I've been to Ground Zero....before the new construction started. It is a somber, sacred place.
And yet we still take for granted the fact that we live in a relatively safe country, living in our little bubbles in our safe towns and communities. We try not to think about those in other countries who fear suicide bombers every time they go to the market, or bombs dropping at random hours of the day, or being hit, God forbid, by chemical weapons. We feel confident that we can walk down a street and not be hit by sniper fire. We can let our kids go out no play without worrying about land mines. It's easy to take our freedoms for granted when we have never known the horrors of what oppression does to a population.
Yes, we will never forget. We will hold those people who died needlessly in our hearts and thoughts forever. What we cannot do is use this tragic event as a catalyst to become more intolerant, more racist, more biased, and more hateful.
Love to you all.