Where were you when the world stopped turning?
September 11, 2001 was just another day. I woke up and got ready for my second week in 6th grade. It was early in the school year; I was still adjusting to an early wake up and often slept on the bus ride to school. Thank goodness for Mrs. Goff’s Literature class, my first class of the day. She was my favorite teacher, always enthusiastic, funny, and relatable to a classroom of people younger than her.
We started our lesson- reading the first chapter of The Giver silently and awaiting a group discussion. While I was deep in my reading I barely noticed the classroom phone ring, until I heard the receiver hit the floor. I looked up to see Mrs. Goff, the color drained from her face. Her expression was a mix of horror and confusion as she tried to figure out how to relay what she had just heard to twenty pairs of eyes staring back at her.
She asked us to close our books and pay attention to the TV. There it was, video footage of a plane flying directly into one of the Twin Towers in New York City. The city I knew I loved but had never visited was crumbling before my eyes. Time seemed to stand still as Mrs. Goff explained in simplified terms what was happening. We watched as the second plane hit, tears streaming down our teachers face as she tried to keep her composure.
Shortly after, we were told that we were under a State of Emergency and we were all going home. Kids around me cheered in reply to the short day of classes, but I couldn’t shake the image that I had just seen. People, jumping from the towers in fear. I didn’t understand why or who, but I knew that things would never be the same.
When the bus pulled up to my house I could see my Dad waiting on the porch. I ran off the bus and into his open arms. I pulled back to look at him, he had been crying. I had never seen my father cry. He held me tight and walked me inside to wait for Mom to get home. Once everyone was safely at home we sat in the living room as a family- my parents, my brother, and myself. Watching the news my parents took turns explaining to us what was going on and asked if we wanted to say a quick prayer. We bowed our heads and thanked God for keeping our family safe, we asked that he bless those who were lost in this tragedy, and to give strength to the families affected.
As someone who isn’t very religious I don’t pray often. However, I am thankful that my parents urged us to do so in that moment. Over the next few years we visited New York City and I was able to picture what had happened that fateful day. As an adult now, I am thankful to Mrs. Goff and my parents. As adults they truly understood what was happening, they had to figure out a way to explain it for little brains to comprehend while being brave for us. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for the day to come when I have to explain to my children what happened on September 11th. Until then I will continue to remember that day, live my life to the fullest and always tell those around me that I love them.