I was in Mrs. Hill’s 8th grade English class around 9 a.m. and I remember my teacher getting interrupted by a series of phone calls. She kept stepping out into the hallway to take the calls, and finally after the third one she came in and apologized and explained that there was a plane crash in New York City. Her husband was a pilot for American Airlines, and he had a flight that morning. She was worried that it was her husband’s plane that crashed, but also seemed more concerned about the entire severity of the event.
The obnoxious class loud-mouth, Adam, said out loud, “What was there a terrorist attack or something?” I will never forget that moment. He said it in a sarcastic jokingly manner…if only he knew what was about to transpire from there on. Ms. Hill replied, “Actually Adam, it looks like there was.”
After news of the second plane crashing into the towers we all gathered into Mr. Burke’s classroom and watched the news. I remember just blankly staring at the screen, feeling my heart sink.
I had a few teachers that were directly affected by the event; Mrs. Hill being the first one. It turned out that her husband was not the pilot of the American Airlines Flight 11. My science teacher, Mr. Zilker, had a brother who worked in the World Trade Center. In some weird twist of fate we found out that he called in sick to work that day. The irony of those two stories seems like a movie script to me now.
Everyone was glad that our teacher’s families were safe, but amidst those two triumphs was a loss for many other families and for our entire nation.
I didn’t know much about terrorism at the time, I had never been exposed to it. When I got home that day I watched the news with my parents. All I can remember was feeling numb. I didn’t cry, I think I was too young to comprehend what had actually happened. However, now I look back on that day and I feel a rush of emotions. It was the best and worst history lesson I have ever and will ever receive.