Monday, September 12, 2011

To Do: Remember 9/11

When the slogan came out 10 years ago saying "We will never forget", they weren't kidding.  It's impossible to forget.  I didn't realize how true that slogan would be years later. 

My DVR is still filled with nearly every documentary that was available this weekend.  I'll watch them all.  It's amazing that 10 years later there is so much I'm still learning.  I watched several shows over the past week or so--learned about the building of the memorial; watched again the only video taken inside the towers (CBS special--must watch!); discovered that nearly everything in the buildings just vaporized, including bodies; Found out that Flight 93 hero Tom Burnett's widow and daughters now live in Little Rock; Heard the stories from ticket takers and air controllers and put a face to the man who was ordered to shoot down the planes.  It all is still so hard to take in and comprehend.

My story of "where were you" is somewhat embarrassing.  I was the Pre-K Family Coordinator, working that day in Blue Mound, at the same school building where I attended K-8 grade.  My office was totally secluded--up the stairs on the stage in the gymnasium. 

Because of P.E. classes, I usually kept my door closed.  And when I'm at work, I love silence--so no radio.  I read on someone's Facebook page yesterday that she was getting her son ready for the first day of Pre-K.  Because there was lots of tears and chaos on the first day, I usually helped out in the Pre-K classroom on the first day.  Needless to say, because of that distraction or the lack of internet and radio, I didn't even hear about the attacks until I went to lunch.

My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Blakeman, told me about a plane hitting buildings in New York.  I figured it was sad, but didn't really realize the impact.  Then, I remember my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Edwards, coming into the teachers' lounge talking about terrorism.  I really have to admit that I didn't know what that meant.  It wasn't something I had ever faced before.  Once the kids cleared the cafeteria, we went and turned on the giant t.v. in there.  This was nearly noon, so we just watched in horror as they replayed the days events.  I just remember seeing how shocked and saddened the other teachers were too. 

Ironically, the school decided that day to not tell the students.  They told them that something historical had happened that was sad that their parents would be talking about.  To this day, I still find that decision odd.  But then again, I just remember how shocked and scared we were.  I guess at the time it seemed best not to have all the kids scared. 

After school, I went straight to Dippin' Merv's (Matt's business).  I just had to see him.  I watched the tiny 13" t.v. with Matt and talked with all the customers who came in to also watch and just talk.  There was a gas station next door and across the street.  We watched the prices at each station increase constantly, and the lines overflowing onto the highway.  I remember the panic that we would never be able to get gas once the tanks were empty.  Our little town was 15 miles from town.  I knew I only had like 1/4 tank but I took my chances because I didn't want to wait for what I heard was hours.  I also remember the panic and fear that we all felt we were going to die that day.  Here I was, thousands of miles from New York, living in a town of 1200 in the middle of corn fields.  But, I felt like we could be next.  A rumor started that if ADM, a giant soybean production site, in nearby Decatur would explode, we would all die. 

The next day at school, Mrs. Edwards (the most patriotic person I've ever met) had ribbons for us to wear.  We wore them every day for weeks.  I kept that ribbon for many years, but realized today that I must have finally gotten rid of it.  I wish now I still had it. 

But ribbon or no ribbon, I know that the memory of that day is ingrained in my head forever!  We really won't forget!

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