Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You? 9.11.2001

We will never forget.

I can't believe it's been 10 years.

I remember the morning of September 11th, 2001 very clearly.
It was a beautiful morning, and I was a junior at Klein High School.  First period was theater with Ms. Frost.  I loved that class.  I don't remember exactly what we were doing in there that day...probably rehearsing some duet piece or monologue.  I heard some of my classmates talking about a plane crash--a plane somewhere had hit a building.  We didn't know the details, but the general attitude was one of "What was that pilot doing, anyway?"  We all assumed it was some sort of horrible accident due to negligence.

The bell ending first period rang, and I headed from the theater classroom in the auditorium through the common area and down the hall of the main building.  Our high school was overcrowded, so walking down the hall always felt like swimming against a river current.  I made it to my second period class--AP Biology with Mrs. Ishee.  Class was held in a lab, and as I took my seat at the second lab table back, one of my classmates asked "Did you hear?"  I said something about hearing about a plane crashing into a building and my classmate just stared at me.

"Two planes hit the World Trade Center in New York."

I though, "Two?!  How could that happen?"

As I asked myself that question, our principal--I don't remember if Mr. Grove was still there or if it was Mr. Huff--came over the speakers.  Mrs. Ishee told us to quiet down and listen, and a complete hush fell over the classroom as we heard that there had been a terrorist attack in NYC.  Planes had been flown into the World Trade Center towers and the South Tower had collapsed.  It was the quietest biology class we ever had.

Of course, Mrs. Ishee continued teaching.  We knew other teachers had their televisions on, watching the news as it happened, but we had to try to force ourselves to focus on biology.  About halfway through the period, we heard lots of yelling coming from other classrooms.  Mrs. Ishee let a student go find out what was happening, and that was how we found out the North Tower had collapsed as well.

The rest of the period is a blur.  Heck, the rest of the school day was a blur--we spent the day watching teachers' televisions and trying to make sense of what was happening.  I remember walking from 2nd period to 3rd period, along the hall of the main building, and thinking, "Right here.  The Main Building, Klein High School, 2nd period AP Biology with Mrs. Ishee.  This is where I was when I found out.  I will never forget."  I still remember where I was in that hall--the bricks and linoleum and the pictures of alumni--when I realized that this was my generation's equivalent of the Kennedy assassination, of the MLK assassination, of Pearl Harbour.  No one would ever forget where they were that day.

After I got home, I found out that my little brother--who was in 8th grade at the time--had watched the second plane hit the South Tower live on CNN before he left for school that morning.  I found out that the Pentagon had been hit as well, and found out about Flight 93 and the passengers' bravery that thwarted the hijackers aboard that plane.  

Later that night, we went to a prayer group with our youth group.  We prayed for everyone involved.  Everyone was scared and many were in tears.  I just kept seeing the images of the New York firefighters and police officers trying to save people and falling victim themselves.  My dad is a police officer, and he was called in as soon as everyone realized what was actually happening.  Houston--with it's oil refineries and plants and ship channel--was a plausible target.  The funny thing is, I don't remember being scared that evening.  I remember feeling helpless, but also being furious--almost a "Don't you DARE come here" mentality.  Looking back, that was probably a defense mechanism on my part, or maybe I had just exhausted my fear and sadness during the day. 

As the facts behind the attacks unfolded, I realized that the world was about to change, that America would not--and could not afford--to stay the same.  I remember watching in awe as the entire nation came together, and feeling the incredible sense of unity.  I remember driving in my S10 Chevy pickup and listening to Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning", and being so thankful for faith, hope and love.  Today, I can still feel an echo of that unity and outpouring of love as I sit here, watching the memorials on TV and watching the footage being replayed from that day.  I'm sending up prayers for all those out there who have had to live without their loved ones for the past 10 years, and for America, that we may remember the lessons that were so costly to learn, and that we remember that, when it comes down to it, we are all in this together.

We will never forget.

1 comment:

  1. I remember talking to friends before 2nd period but they had the radio in their 1st period class and mentioned something before the 2nd period announcements. Last hall main building, left side 2nd to last classroom Algebra 2. For the life of me i can't remember my teachers name.


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