What I Remember on September 11th 2001...
"For What it's Worth..."
The skies really WERE a shade of clear blue on September 11th, 2001. At the time, I lived in Homewood, IL. 60430. I was eleven years old.
I glanced at the clock for some odd reason in my 6th grade Shop Class. I remember it clearly - despite my plastic safety goggles, the OLD-SCHOOL clock, the dust, the typical boredom.
What I DIDN'T notice - as my hands were busy making SOMETHING with wood - was that my normally calm, well-respected, much-loved Shop Teacher was gone.
Suddenly, my Shop Teacher ran into the room in tears. "OUR COUNTRY IS UNDER ATTACK!" No one said a word. We were ten and eleven year old children. We were still used to dressing up in our Halloween costumes and Trick-Or-Treating with our friends on the way home. We had never seen a teacher, let alone such a kind, older, normally calm, sharp educator behave so erratically.
All I remember for the rest of that horrible day was the quiet sense of dread and total confusion. And those old, boxy televisions. Suddenly, our boring day of lectures transformed into watching the news broadcast suffering on a WHOLE DIFFERENT LEVEL. The school didn't know WHAT to do. NO ONE knew for sure WHAT was happening. Or WHY. However, when all the adults start acting quiet and unusual, pre-teens are going to notice...
After another period of craning my neck upwards, to watch those old, boxy televisions play clip after clip of a world erupting into a chaos and confusion I myself could barely understand, I asked to be excused from my English class. I didn't know WHY we were watching planes flying into buildings, crashing, burning, or WHY my teacher's were acting so solemn. So I figured, I better call home.
This was long before everyone had a cellphone, and you could make a collect call by using a public pay phone. There happened to be one located outside of my middle-school's office, at the time. I knew If I dialed 1-800-COLLECT, I would be able to at least CHECK on someone.
"Mom... um... are you OK?"
"Yes," she replied, sternly. "Well, um... are you watching the news? Is Dad okay?" "Yes. You're father's fine..." "Um... ok. Well... I love you..." I finished.
"I love you, too," she said. "Come right home after school."
It was a short conversation. When I returned to English class, I raised my hand. "Are we going to war?" I asked my teacher. I can't recall EXACTLY HOW she responded in the affirmative, or WHY I even asked the question. I wasn't joking. How could anybody joke? The student's didn't know ANYMORE than the adults did. All we knew was what we saw on those OLD TV's that played VCR tapes when the student's behaved or the teachers were tired or eager to engage their students. Planes crashing. Smoke. Fire. One plane. One tower.
"No, Two planes! Both towers!"
"One Tower is COLLAPSING! The other one is hit!"
"No Three!" "Three planes hijacked!?"
"The OTHER tower collapsed?"
"WHAT about the PENTAGON?!"
Tock... and priorities SHIFT.
I can't remember seeing many student's cry. I think I saw more teachers cry and comfort one another than students. We watched and bit our nails with our teachers. Honestly, my friend from "Across the Pond" had to explain to me WHERE and WHAT the World Trade Centers were. Let alone what the Pentagon WAS, WHERE it was at, and WHY these buildings were even relevant. And I'M supposed to be the American!
That's NO insult to my Social Studies or History Teachers... I honestly DIDN'T know. I was an eleven-year-old girl who was still drawing terrible flip-book cartoons at the time. (You had to flip one page at a time. I stapled them together.) It was a stick figure. I called him, "Sticky". Wish I still had one or two of those...
Strangely, I DO still have the "uplifting" poster of people drowning to death from the "Titanic" Group Lesson I had to do in Elementary School. I think my fellow students and I did a pretty good job depicting what was THEN considered a calamity of chaos. The so-called "Unsinkable Ship"... sank. I drew the stick figure playing the violin.
I went home that day - walking along-side my best friend at the time, like we always did - totally oblivious. I can't remember if we even spoke. When I returned home, I was disappointed my cartoons weren't on. Every channel available at the time featured reporters trying to make sense of what NOBODY could. For once, my mother wouldn't let me go play outside with my friends. I was bored of my Nintendo-64 games. I genuinely did NOT comprehend the GRAVITY of that day.
There was no way I could predict or comprehend the suffering that still haunts many lives to this very day... As I got older, I did more research online about that day. YouTube. I'm STILL fascinated about that day. I'm still wondering what REALLY happened. I'm not a "conspiracy theorist". There are simply questions and lives unaccounted for. And the effects of that day live on for me - in my family - to this very day. Lest we forget that it lives on for MANY to this day...
I've never been that GREAT at conclusions. Do your OWN research. Dig as deep as YOU want/can. If you want/can. Meanwhile, a sick Veteran of that "war" coughs downstairs. There's still shrapnel in their liver. Another grumbles. Another shoots. Another claims one thing. Another claims another. If I've learned ANYTHING from that day, from that moment, it's to NOT underestimate or take for granted a SINGLE MOMENT you ARE alive.
And people think I'm so "negative"...
Hello readers! While my biggest passion is for music, I've been writing, drawing, and creating since I could crawl. I hope my stories inspire hope, courage, strength, tenacity, humility and laughter in my readers. Join me on this journey!