Ten years ago today I was a Junior in high school, sitting in my 2nd period art class when my teacher who always had the radio or some sort of music on announce “Oh my God, a plane just hit the world trade center!” I was shocked, but not really aware of what it meant, because really the only thing that came to mind was that it was a terrible accident. The idea of a terrorist attack did not even cross my mind.
I left the class soon after, entered my 3rd period English 3 Honors class, and discovered that it was a bigger deal than everyone initially thought.. So, we did what any normal teenager would do.. we begged and pleaded our teacher to let us go to the only classroom we knew had a tv, and watch the news. By the time we got there the second plane had hit, and there were easily 100 kids and teachers crammed into the classroom. I sat on the floor only a couple feet from the entirely too small for all of us tv, and watched the first… I was horrified when the news showed people jumping… I could not fathom fear enough that would motivate me to jump out of a building hundreds of stories to the ground. Then the second building collapsed.
I remember just being in a state of shock because we knew it was on purpose now.
I have never been overly emotional, and I remember classmates and teachers crying, but for some reason, I did not. I was scared for our country, and the unknown… How many planes did they have?… Where are they heading next?.. Are any of us safe?.. Especially as the news unfolded and there were two more plane crashes. The Pentagon (which weirdly is the city I live in now), and a field in Pennsylvania.
Yet, all at the same time, I operated under a confidence knowing that even if I was not going to be “ok”.. I was safe because my God still had it and was still under control.
The rest of the day was really a blur. I remember my 6th period Biology teacher giving us some time at the beginning of class to talk about what we were thinking, feeling, and allowed us to ask questions.. Not that she had any answers, but it was certainly a lot better than being told we had to pretend none of it mattered or worse that it didn’t actually happen and our lives were not going to be different.
As soon as my dad picked me up that day (like every other day) I remember blurting out “DID YOU HEAR?!.. The World Trade Centers were hit by planes today!” He of course had heard.. and we talked about it the whole way home.. and I remember turning the HUGE tv (5 foot ginormous box of a tv we had) on and standing just a couple feet from it and watching the replays of the buildings collapse over and over… I remember just letting it sink in that this was incredible evil, and I tried envisioning the emotions every person on those planes, and in those buildings would have felt. The confusion, fear, chaos… all of it.
I remember it just being overwhelming, and that for the next several weeks I was consumed with the rescue and recovery of the people in the buildings and at the Pentagon.
So, as cliche as it sounds.. 10 years later, our lives are still moving forward.. but everyone is right, I will never be the same either. 9/11 is always a moment in time that I remember how small and fragile we all are, how evil the devil is, and how glorious my God is.