A Sad Way to Begin High School

Date Submitted: 07/05/2007
Author Info: Sam (Meridian - USA) 
Occupation: Student
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

I lived in Centerville, Cape Cod, Massachusetts when 9-11 happened. In late August of that year I began high school at a Catholic Prep School in Kingston (30 miles south of Boston). I remember leaving algebra and going into the halls just before 9 AM. This was the beginning of the school year and there was no homework yet. We had closed circuit TVs in this dinosaur of a high school, but they had attennae that picked up some channels. The seniors, who felt like they owned the place, used to turn them on to catch some reruns during break. One of these TVs happened to be on the right channel and was functioning well enough so that a few other kids and I saw Flight 175 hit Two World Trade Center live. Some started crying, but it wasn’t soon after that the overhead called for everyone to return to their homerooms. There, my teacher, Dr. Conway, who taught Bible, told his new freshmen that the Twin Towers had been hit by airplanes. We did a prayer and then bustled to class. The day was not over though. I had World Civilizations next, and my teacher, Mr. McKee, gave a speech about how the day would be one for the books; that it would possibly define our times. My mom picked us up from school, crying the entire commute home to Cape Cod. My lesson for 9-11 is kind of arbitrary and acausal in that I just *happened* to start high school the week before the attacks. However, the ensuing attacks on Al-Quaeda HQ in Afghanistan, the Anthrax Scare, the formation of Homeland Security (of which my father was one of the first to work for, oddly enough), the weapons inspections in Iraq, and now the interminable Iraq War have been so big in my life. From being a geeky, pimply faced 15 year old on 9-11, to now having nearly completed my undergraduate university education, the post 9-11 U.S. Foreign policy has dominated my country since I could really pay attention to it–I didn’t follow or understand the news before high school. My world and my times really began on 9-11, for better or for worse.


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