I remember sitting in the back row of Mrs. D’s social studies class.
I remember how warm the room was, the noise of gym classes outside running the mile.
I remember another teacher rushing into our room, demanding Mrs. D to turn on the television.
Not a single one of my classmates or I could comprehend what was going on. My teacher put her hands up to her mouth, she became statuesque in front of the screen. From an 11 year olds perspective, I thought we were simply watching television. The weight of what was unfolding before our very eyes was a foreign concept to most of us in that room.
How do you explain to a room of 11 year olds that what you were seeing was thousands of innocent people being murdered by terrorists? College doesn’t teach future educators how to explain tragedy to children.
One tower fell. Helicopters flew around the other. News reports voiced over the video being broadcasted live all over the country.
And then… The bell rang.
Suddenly, we were thrust back into the reality of life. Things kept moving forward for us as we were not anywhere near the city. Many kids kept asking if we were going to get out early; the naïveté of childhood evident. Teachers answered these questions as sensitively as they could. Science was the typical science class, as was home and careers as was english and math. All of us witnessing something so unspeakably tragic, yet life had to keep moving forward.
I don’t think I ever felt fear like that until I got home and was getting ready for bed that night. Nothing else besides coverage of what they were calling a terrorist attack was on tv that night. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t escape news coverage of the tragedy. It was no longer live, but more and more footage was being reported by those who were down in the city and saw first hand the chaos that was ensuing.
I remember watching footage of people jumping out of windows, people crying and covered in what looked like a brown clay. I knew that it was in New York and I too was in New York. I wasn’t sure if I too was going to die that night. I remember hearing planes flying over head, and I prayed that it wouldn’t crash into my house.
They say you never forget where you were on days of tragedy, such as the bombing of the World Trade Centers.