Today is September 11th. It is hard to believe that it has been 12 years since that tragic day. That day when television seemed like the movies and reality was so far out of reach for so many. If you ask anyone what they were doing that day, they all remember and they all have a story. Here are our staff’s stories of that day that will never be forgotten.
I grew up in a suburb just south of Washington, D.C. and was in my 8th grade language arts class on the day of the 9/11 attacks.
Our school was put on lockdown and our teacher would not tell us what was going on because many of my schoolmates had parents who worked in Washington, D.C. Rumors were going around that there was a terrorist attack, but I didn’t understand the full scope of what was going on until I got home. My parents explained to me what happened and I saw clips on the news of the plane flying into the World Trade Center and the crash at the Pentagon.
I lived in Canton, Georgia and it was my sophomore year in high school. I was taking a Chemistry test when the first plane hit. Someone called our teacher to tell her what had happened and she basically said “So what?”.
The school was released to the next class completely oblivious to what was actually happening. My next period was my Drumline class. We were playing our drums, practicing for the big football game, when the high school drama teacher came in and made us stop playing. We were taken to another room to watch the TV but we were all too young (I had just turned 15) to know about the previous bombing at the WTC, prior to 9/11. Needless to say we were all really confused.
My mom quickly came to school and took me home. All the high school football games for the following Friday were canceled. In place of the game, our marching band joined with other high school bands from the county and played a special memorial concert that Friday for the community.
I was in my third year at Pepperdine University. I had an 8am Accounting class that I rolled out of bed for. I quickly got ready and headed out the door. I walked down to class, turned into the classroom and was surprised to see nobody seated. Professor Misch was seated at the head of the class. The expression on her face was unforgettable. Some other students walked in and then she announced, “This is the first time in all of the history of my career in teaching that I have had to cancel a class. We are under attack. Two planes have crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. Please go home, contact your loved ones and pray.”
Not really sure of the severity of what was going on, I figured since I was down near main campus, I would go to the Student Center and pick up some breakfast and my mail. As I went to get my mail, I noticed that the large TV screen in the Student Center had crowds gathered around, watching intensely. Many with their hands covering their mouth and tears in their eyes. I looked at the faces of some of the students as I came around the corner and averted my eyes to the screen. And just like out of a mega-blockbuster Hollywood film, I see a plane go crashing into a building. I remember freezing in my tracks, eyes glued to the television in disbelief. I watched briefly to hear the newscaster recapping the events of the morning and then I quickly grabbed my stuff and headed back to my room. I woke up my roommate and we both sat there, enamored and hypnotized by our television, tears streaming down our faces and both of us scrambling for the phone to call our families and loved ones—nowhere near New York, but clearly a natural reaction to make sure that everyone was safe and sound.
I have yet to ever visit New York and I’m sure that seeing Ground Zero would open up the floodgates of emotions that were with me on that day. There was a lesson to be learned that day, even for those that did not directly lose their life or lose a loved one that day. It was a wakeup call for many Americans, including myself. Life is short. Nothing in life is guaranteed. Family and the relationships we have with the people around us are everything. It is a lesson that I’m reminded of as we reflect on the events of 9/11 and pay tribute to the lives lost on that day. Living proof that we will never forget.