10 Years Ago

10 years ago, Cheney and I had only been married a little over 3 years.

10 years ago, I wasn't an Auntie.

10 years ago, I had only been teaching for 1 year.

10 years ago, I lived in Puyallup, Washington.

10 years ago, I didn't have a cell phone.

10 years ago, I flew multiple times a year.

10 years ago, I was innocent and trusting.

10 years ago, while I was getting ready for work, things changed forever.
Image at swotti.com

Every generation has pivotal moments where members of that generation can pinpoint their location on certain occasions.  My mother remembers the day that JFK was shot, my grandfather remembers Pearl Harbor, I remember the Challenger explosion, and now I remember September 11, 2001.

The morning began just like every morning had begun for the last week and a half.  School was in session and I woke to an alarm clock.  The school year was brand new and I was teaching 4th grade for the first time.  I jumped in the shower and began to get ready for the day.  When I got out, I heard Cheney in the living room and he hollered for me to come in there.  I vividly remember walking into the living room with a towel on my head and in a robe to see images of NYC on the television.  He had heard the news on the radio and turned the television on to see what was happening.  At that time, a plane crashing into the World Trade Center was an accident.  We hadn't been watching long when we watched a 2nd plane crash into the other building - on live television.  I remember sinking into the couch and losing track of time.  I can't remember what motivated me to move from that spot.  I don't remember getting ready for school or driving there.

I'm sure at some point during that drive I questioned what I was going to tell my students about what happened.  I didn't understand it myself.  When I arrived, teachers were gathered in the office.  We put together our day and decided to keep as much normalcy as we could.  We were all stunned.

Once students arrived, we somehow fell into a routine.  I worked at a private school and the most comforting thing that day was sitting in the sanctuary and praying for our country and our leaders.

Normally, cargo planes from McChord Air Force Base would conduct training runs throughout the day.  But this day, the skies were silent.  Hauntingly silent.

For days Cheney and I were glued to the television watching news coverage.  After 3 or 4 days I couldn't watch any more.  I was more confused than ever that so much hate could cause someone to act this way.  Today, I still don't understand, but I know that that sort of hatred exists. Some of my innocence about human nature has vanished.  I don't trust as willingly as before.  I think we all have experienced some of this.

I teach students this year who were not alive in 2001, but I still teach about it.  I choose to focus on the positive things that have come out of the tragedy - the stories of heroes, stories of hope, stories of loving those around you, and taking care of those you love.  The heroes of Flight 93, the police officers, firemen, every day people who were involved at Ground Zero, and the Pentagon.

We have not forgotten 10 years ago.


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