It was 2001 and I was a little 7th grader, happily writing in my diary and hoping we wouldn’t get too much homework in the coming day. I waded through the group of little ones on the swingset, toward the older kids playing kickball and hanging around waiting for the bell to ring.
I comment in my diary how sunny and beautiful it is. My biggest concern was that math class wouldn’t be too hard that day. Little did I know that things would be happening in just over an hour to our country that my 13-year old brain couldn’t understand.
The next 45 minutes weren’t memorable. We were each paired with kindergarten “buddies” who we helped with morning activities every Tuesday. After that, we would go upstairs, grab our books and head to science class. That’s exactly what we did that day, only there wasn’t a screen full of notes on plant cells.
I walked in in the middle of a conversation as normal, but my friends and I were quickly hushed by fellow students. We were surprised to see the entire middle school (6th, 7th, and 8th graders) huddled in the classroom around the T.V.
What was going on?
My first memory of the event is seeing a man on TV covered in dust and debris. He was surrounded by a cloud of smoke and the headline read “Twin towers collapse”. At the time, I thought it was nothing more than an accident.
In my young mind, a plane had gotten lost and sadly hit a busy building filled with people. How tragic and scary. It wasn’t until we had moved from our science class to our math class that I heard our principal say “This is no accident. This is history in the making.”
It was the first time I heard the word “terrorism” and the first time I had been a witness, even from a small town in Wisconsin to such a catostrophic attack. And all day it’s all we heard about in our classes.
14 years later, I still tear up when I think about all the lives lost. My heart goes out to everyone who lost someone that day. May they rest in peace, and may we always remember.