I’m from a very small town in Northern Michigan, where our population is lucky to be close to 4000 people on a good day.
I was a junior in high school at the time, sitting in my first period French class, watching the clock and waiting for the bell to ring. Five minutes before the bell was scheduled to ring, our principal came on the loudspeaker. As he explained that a plane had flown into the World Trade Centers in NYC and that America was under attack, we looked to our teacher. I remember her sputtering that “He must be joking,” and struggling to comprehend what he was saying. It was announced the school day would continue for now, but for the next hour or so, teachers would turn on the TVs in the rooms so we could watch what was going on.
As the bell rang and I stepped into the hallway, it was the most surreal experience of my life. Our usual crowded, loud hallway was completely silent as we all walked in neat lines to our next class, not once looking at each other or saying a word. To use a cliche term, you could have heard a pin drop as more than seven hundred high schoolers walked to their next class.
By the time the bell rang to signify the beginning of second period, we were all already in our seats; no one was late that day, we were all to shocked by the images on the screens in front of us.
We watched as the screen filled with horrifying images and desperate people jumped from the buildings, struggling to comprehend what was happening. As the first tower collapsed, people around me began to cry, as did I. My forty something teacher in front of me, sat at his desk and covered his face with his hands, shielding us from his obvious panic.
The rest of the day was mostly a blur as we shuffled from class to class, speechless at the images in our minds. My fourth period class was the worst of all. My teacher’s nephew was in NYC. She sobbed at her desk as our principal tried to comfort her, but she was unable to move.
Coming home that day was an unexplainable relief. To be surrounded by sister and our silly cats, anxiously waiting for our Mom to return home, for that comfort only a parent can give. It didn’t matter that day that I was only sixteen, because on that day all I wanted was my mom.
As the years pass, the horrors of September 11th never fade. College classes were filled with debates and lessons on that day and the reasons behind it. With the war continuing, the wounds are still fresh and new ones are created every time someone else passes.
I’m so proud to be an American and God Bless all those who lost their lives that day and those who lost their lives fighting for those who cannot.
How could anyone ever forget September 11th, 2001 – the day the world was silent.