just a high school student’s perspective

Date Submitted: 09/13/2009
Author Info: Rachel (Charlotte - USA) 
Occupation: Professional (Medical, legal, etc.)
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

Now I have a BA and an MS and a salary job, but back then, I was still in high school. I remember it was about 20 minutes after one of the planes hit a tower, and the pentagon had already been hit. I was in Spanish class and the intercom came on. I think this was a really stupid thing to do but our principal told us “2 unmarked jets have flown into the twin towers. We do not yet know if this is a terrorist attack or some sort of accident. The Pentagon is currently under attack. We will keep you posted.” Now, being only 15 or 16, we all were picturing “attack” meaning samurai swords or something and the questions kept coming, being that her announcement was so stupidly unclear and thoughtless. Immediately the students jumped up and started crying and asking each other “what will we do? what are we supposed to do? my mother is there, my father is there” etc. The girl behind me grabbed my shoulder and just cried at me. We lived on the long island sound and were all navy brats (CT) and thought for sure that if these “attacks” were happening down our seaboard, that we would be on the list, being on a large military base. As a matter of fact, we could see smoke coming from the sound. It was that big. Our teacher didn’t know what to say-she threw her hands up and tried to continue the lesson. I feel bad for her now, being a teacher myself. When class was finally over, we all flooded the hallways borrowing cell phones and attempting to call out to parents and loved ones, but all the lines were tied up. My mother got me a cell phone the next day, I believe. Some people skipped and went home. Most of us skipped the rest of our classes to sit in the library with our one TV to watch the news coverage. No one said anything if we skipped–in fact some teachers were there too. That night, I watched the second tower fall, live. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so personally insulted. That’s a weird feeling to have isn’t it? Coming from a strong military family background on both sides, I felt a sense of anger, even for my relatives buried in Arlington. Anyway it’s been almost 10 years now and that’s hard to believe. I’m in my mid 20s, but just like that slogan says, we never forget and that footage, the emotions, the smoke, and that devastation from across the sound is going to sit with me for a long time. I imagine at some point, I’ll get students old enough that will ask me, “where were you?”


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