Saturday, September 11, 2010

United We Stand: 9/11/01

I was a teacher on 9/11/01.

I dropped my students off at their P.E. class, stopped by to say hello to the school counselor and was greeted by his television airing the horror of that day. I practically ran back to my class to turn on the television. I watched for 50 minutes before I had to go pick up my students.

I spent every spare minute for the next three days glued to the TV. My wife and my mother both told me I had to stop watching, but I couldn't. I wanted to re-enlist in the Navy to make some sort of contribution to paying back whoever was responsible. My wife wanted no part of that with a 15 month old baby and another one only 5 months away.

The world stood still while firemen, policemen, military personnel and numerous volunteers dug in the rubble for survivors.

People said our country would never be the same. Sure, the events of 9/11 scarred us individually and as a nation, but it didn't take us long to get back to the status quo.

I'll never forget where I was that day. I'll never forget the sight of that plane and those buildings...never.


  1. I was working on my web page "A Short History of Baseball Cards." Tuesday was a regular day off for me, my wife is a teacher as well and my daughter was in preschool (she had just turned 3). Since I had the house to myself I figured I'd spend it building more pages to my then-new site.

    After adding some more paragraphs to my page, I added the date to the bottom as usual, went over to yahoo's page and saw something had happened at one of the Twin Towers. So I turned on the TV in time to see the second tower get hit and was tied to the set the rest of the day.

    Like you, I was ready to re-enlist in the Army but my wife had to talk me out of that. As a native New Yorker, I furiously tried contacting those I still kept in touch with (I still have some of those replies)...I had a couple of friends working in the WTC, and my wife's cousin worked there as well. Thankfully, all eventually got back to me even though the time waiting to hear from them seemed insanely long.

    A few things I remember from that day:

    I was glad that my daughter was 3, since she was too young to understand what was happening and wouldn't ask any questions I still didn't know how to answer. A couple years later, we visited NYC and went to Ground Zero. She understood what happened then.

    I went back to work the next day and worked straight through until Saturday. As I cleaned up on Saturday, I realized I was physically tired from an entire week of dealing with what happened.

    I also noticed that for a short time, the people around me were different. People were more courteous, didn't drive around like jackasses like usual and seemed generally downbeat. It took a couple of weeks for that to go away.

    Eventually, I sat down at the computer again and began adding more info to my webpage. And when I got down to the "Last Updated" date, I saw September 11, 2001 there and remembered it was the thing I did just before learning about the events that happened that day. That date is still on the page, as I want to be reminded every time I see that page that there are things far more important than the little pieces of cardboard we collect.

  2. Thank you for this post. Thank you for remembering. God bless.