September 11, 2001.
I was in Miami.
The day started like any other. I woke up and scrambled to get to work. It was the 3rd week of school for my group of 1st graders. We were ready to tackle the sounds that make up words, how numbers could be put together, and the new found love of homework. I greeted the children with a smile on my face and we went about our daily routine.
When the Spanish teacher entered my room, I headed to the teacher’s lounge to laminate new items for the classroom. A couple of middle school teachers were there talking about how a plane crashed into the Twin Towers in Manhattan. Thinking that it was a single engine plane that may have lost its way, I didn’t give it much thought.
After I returned to my classroom, I noticed that my dad had called my cell phone. I remember thinking, “He knows I’m at work. What does he want? I’ll call him when I get home.” I went about my morning.
There was a call into my classroom from the office. A child was being dismissed early. Why didn’t the parent tell me? We’ve only been in school for about 2 hours. Calls continued to come into my room asking for more and more children to be dismissed.
Finally, the Assistant Principal came into my room and explained that both towers were hit, they had crumbled to the ground and that the Pentagon was also hit by a plane. It was an act of terrorism on our country.
As a teacher, your first role is to protect your kids. At this point, only 3 children remained in my care. It was my job to go about and act “normal” for them. It was my job to shield the kids from the terror around us.
On my break, I called my dad. His first words were, “Don’t turn on the TV.” I explained to him that we didn’t have TVs in our classrooms. I hadn’t seen anything yet, I had only heard.
When school let out that day, I remember driving home and everything was just silent. It seemed like the world was just….quiet. There were American flags flying everywhere.
I got home to my little apartment and I watched as the news recounted the disaster from the day and wept. I remember standing in the doorway of my bedroom with all of the curtains drawn, fearing that an attack would happen again. That, somehow, the next attack would be on Miami. I didn’t sleep that night. My heart was breaking for the people who lost their lives that day, for our country that was in panic, and for the heroes that showed their true colors.
I know no one will ever forget that day. Our lives are forever changed.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!