Tuesday, September 11, 2012

That moment

Image courtesy of Robert Linder,
rgbstock.com
"Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children." ~President George W. Bush

I had to teach News Writing that morning, and I drove to work early, hoping for a cup of coffee and some quiet prep time. No one was in the newsroom when I arrived, and I settled at my desk to review my notes. Then one of my students appeared in the doorway: "A plane just hit the World Trade Center." I remember feeling confused; my brain couldn't process his words, and it took a moment for me to comprehend, although as I look back now, I'm not sure I've ever understood. The student left, and I abandoned my office and walked to the cafeteria, in sudden, desperate need of company and familiarity.

What are your memories of that terrible moment?

32 comments:

  1. I was eight months pregnant with my daughter. I remember sitting on the sofa crying my eyes out, watching the towers go down. It was awful!

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    1. I can remember sitting there in disbelief...

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  2. I had just started journalism school a few weeks earlier, so my professor gave us all assignments for the day. I had to walk around campus asking students for their thoughts, but all I wanted to do was go home and sit in front of the television with my husband.

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    1. I ended up cancelling the plans I had for my class that day. We talked about the media coverage instead.

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  3. I woke up to it on the news. Watched it in stunned silence for a long time with my husband. I got an email later from my mom. One of her co-workers was there on a business trip and died when the plane hit. My mom could've been sent on that trip, but she wasn't traveling for work at that time because my father was sick.

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    1. I can imagine what you must have been feeling after learning that your mom could have been there. I think it would be almost too hard to think about.

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  4. I was in a business meeting. The leader told us what had happened. Very quietly she said "this is war" ... and she was right.

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  5. I was on holiday in France and only heard about it on the tinny radio we had taken with us. Couldn't comprehend it and couldn't watch the coverage on the tv on my return home.

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    1. I had a hard time with the coverage, too. I think it was just too much for my mind to take in.

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  6. I had just dropped my kids off at school and was listening to the radio. I couldn't wrap my head around it at first, then I finally understood. I cried all the way home and watched TV for the next week, glued to it.

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    1. The understanding: It was the same way for me. I think before September 11, people in the U.S. felt they were invincible, so when the unthinkable occurred, we just couldn't comprehend it.

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  7. Like Judy, I had just dropped my kids off at school and was listening to the radio. When I heard the news, I called my husband to tell him about "the plane crash." He said, "Yeah, I know. But it wasn't simply a plane crash. It was a terrorist attack." That day changed my whole perspective on life.

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  8. I wrote a post today too about 9-11. I watched a lot of coverage today. I hope we never forget. It makes me sad that when, on 9-12 - we were so united, but shortly thereafter, we were bickering again. :-(

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  9. I had just finished teaching my early class and was heading to my office. A bunch of colleagues were huddled around a tv set, but I didn't think anything of it. On my way home, I found myself listening to Tom Brokaw on my country music station. It took me awhile to process why I was hearing HIS voice when I was expecting Toby Keith or Brooks & Dunn. I must have driven the whole way home with my mouth wide open and couldn't wait to get inside to turn on the tv. The next day was equally strange. How do you watch the news all night and then return to teaching sentence variety in a paragraph?

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    1. Yes, how do we? I had to go back to teaching the next day as well—composition and developmental English classes. I found it somewhat surreal to be standing at the front of the room and talking about participial phrases after something so horrible had just occurred.

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  10. I was getting ready for work (in California) and one of my then teenage children came out and said something is going on in NYC - turn on the television. We watched together for a few minutes but needed to go to work. Scared. Work for me at that time was a K-1-2 classroom - my job that morning was to welcome children who had seen their parents cry already that day - who were coming to school afraid b/c their parents were terrified. I remember showing them on the map where NYC was - showing them how far away that place was from where they were. We went around the circle sharing about people we knew who lived in NYC (or, as it goes with 5 year olds,people we new who lived anywhere!). Once the parents felt settled about their children and left the school , we went back to our typical morning routine - one thing I know about children - routine provides security and a sense of safety - adults too.

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    1. I can imagine how those parents felt. I don't know if I would have been able to leave my children in school that day; I would want them close. That must have been a hard day for teachers, too. You're right: routine does comfort kids; I know how much my kids depend on it.

      Thanks for sharing this.

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  11. i was in michigan with my baby boys, 1 & 2 yrs old. my mom called and told me. still cant believe it happened

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  12. It was one of my days off that week. I had the news on when they went to the breaking news. My hubby was on a construction job site a few miles from the Pentagon on that day. They were all sent home early and it took him 5 hours to get out of D.C. that day. :/

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  13. I was at school in first period when we first heard the news. My teacher turned the news on and all day, from class to class, we watched as everything unfolded. My friend's dad had been flying to the Pentagon that morning and she didn't find out until that night that he was safe. My dad was on a remote in Korea and supposed to be coming home later that week, but after the attacks his return home was immediately stopped.

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    1. That one moment changed everything...

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  14. You know my memories. One thing I didn't mention was the phone call I received from my wife on the night of September 11th. She told me my best friend had been in the Pentagon that day. They needed dental records to identify him.
    Alongside him was a man who worked with me on the ship. I escorted his body from Dover to East Rutherford, New Jersey a month later.

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  15. I remember waking up and walking into the kitchen for breakfast. My mother always had The Today Show on in the morning. She looked up at me and said, "the world just stopped." I looked at her, confused, and stepped over to the television and immediately saw what she meant.

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    1. That's exactly what it felt like...

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  16. Hi Dana. Such a sobering time. Thank you for the rememberance.

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