Sunday, September 11, 2005

remembering 9/11

As a New Yorker, I will never forget this day. It is burned into my memory. Here is what I experienced in Queens, New York:

I arrived at school and began teaching my third grade class as usual. During a math lesson, one of my fellow teachers entered the room and told me there had been a terrible plane accident. Stunned and saddened, I continued teaching the class. About ten minutes later my student teacher walked the students to their science lab on the third floor. I walked into the teacher's lounge and saw a sight I will never forget. About ten teachers were hudled around the television watching the second plane hit Tower 2. I immediately panicked and ran to the phone to call my husband, who was working in the same area that day. After many frantic attempts, I finally got through to his phone, but only for a few moments before he lost his signal. He was stuck on the bridge, everyone was out of their cars and he watched the planes hit the towers. He said everyone on the bridge was screaming.

A few moments, which felt like an eternity, later an announcement came over the load speaker to gather all students because Mr. Green was in the building (Mr. Green is our lock-down code) I ran upstairs, composed myself and took my kids to our classroom. We were instructed to put the kids in the back of the room, shut all the lights and stay away from the windows. We also had to lock all the doors. It was terrifying. But I had to act as if nothing was wrong. I worried about the other teachers who had husbands who were fire fighters, I worried about my husband, I worried about those in the buildings, and I worried for my students, many of whose parents worked in the city.

Soon, we heard blaring sirens as all the fire trucks in the area were dispatched to the wtc. The kids began to worry as we remianed in the dark, huddled in a corner, reading stories. I simply couldn't teach. As the hours went by, most of the children were picked up by their parents...and the remianing students began crying, as they knew something was up. I was filled with dread that their parents may me hurt or worse.

It was the longest day of my life. I finally left school at 7 that night after all the children were picked up. The school was filled with fear and sorrow. Two of our students lost family members.

For a least a week afterward, we could still smell the burning smoke in our classrooms. It was terrible. And for the entire next two years, every student and every teacher in our building jumped when we heard sirens outside our windows. We relived the fear everytime.

My husband got off that bridge and made it home safely. I took me a long time to cry...the shock of it all was too much to take.

I'll never forget this terrible day. It is burned into my memory. Thanks for letting me share.


Court said...

I am sitting crying all over again. I was on the west coast pregnant with our second child. Filled with fear for our world and our childrens world. It forever changed all of us. Hugs to you!

Rori said...

OMG Alexis I have no words for what I am feeling and thinking at this very moment! I am sorry you and all the others affected by this horrific experience have had to go through this all!
I am saddened by the entire thing. Be thankful that you and DH were ok. Embrace every moment. Hugs to you girl!