Fourteen years ago today… it was a Tuesday. School was in session. There were 5th graders in the computer lab. We were busy at work, students chattering on task and off. A typical morning. And then Sister walked in. My first thought was she was here to observe, but something about her demeanor clued me in it was more than that. She hurried over and in a whisper asked me to turn on the television. The television was located in the teacher workspace and was facing away from the students. I turned it on and was immediately confused and horrified. Was this really happening?
On the screen I saw the scene we all have etched in our memories. The Twin Towers under attack. One of the towers had already been hit. There was smoke everywhere. We stood speechless. Watching. Horrified. Helpless. Not believing what we were seeing, but knowing it was true. And then, another plane seemed to slowly plow into the other tower. We both cried out and the students looked up. I went over to them and moved around the room checking on their progress. Needing a few minutes to compose myself. The students finished their work and filed back to their classrooms.
Sister and I stood together and watched the horrific scene unfold. News of another plane in Washington D.C. And another airplane unaccounted for. What was happening? One airplane is a tragic accident. Four? Are there more? How do we handle this with the students? Do we make an announcement?
Luckily, the school was a Catholic School, located next to a church. We were encouraged to make use of the Adoration Chapel to reflect and pray. And we all did.
I also remember how it was in the months following. The unity, the caring, the sharing of a country unified together. It is sad that it takes a tragedy to unite people together.