Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

      Up early this morning, on this tenth anniversary of 911. How quickly time flies. Whether it was a complete conspiracy, as some would have us believe, or it happened as reported by the media, I am not sure. I only know this. People died that day and it did have an impact on me.
       That Tuesday morning, we were gathered, of course, for our second week of the new school year. As my grade two's were having a second-period gym class with another teacher, I slipped down to the office to check on some textbooks that I had ordered. One of the women in the office had been listening to the radio and heard that a plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers in New York City. We thought that it was some random accident and as we were standing there, she came out pale-faced, and said another plane hit the second tower. We were frantic for information. I went up to my classroom and tuned into the talk radio station. It was all over the news and conflicting reports kept coming. I went around to update other teachers and check into the office. There they were listening to other radio stations. We heard of another plane that hit the Pentagon and then another that went down in a field. At one point we were informed of a fifth plane, but that turned out to be false. At that moment, it felt like the end of the world had begun. Seemed that there was to be war starting on North American soil.
       A call came through soon after that from a parent of one of my students. I could hear the controlled desperation in her voice, as she said she was calling from New York, didn't know when she would be able to call again. She was on a business trip there and was on the fly trying to get out of the city. She described the chaos, but very quickly. Her main purpose was to say, "Tell my children I love them." I asked if she wanted to speak to her children. Her son was in my class. She said no, that she didn't want them to be alarmed. She said to make sure they knew that she was all right. She would talk to them when they were safely in their father's arms at home. She further asked that we protect them from the news, advised that we might want to keep all the news to ourselves until children could be advised by their parents. She later told us her whole harrowing experience, taking four days, much of it on foot, to get back safely to Canada. Her whole life changed after that event, but that is her story. I won't tell it.
       Myself, I remember walking around in a daze those next four days. Watching the images on CNN and other major news networks over and over again, trying to take it all in. On Friday, my principal asked me if I had written up an educational plan on one of my students who had major learning disabilities. I turned to her, and in all sincerity said, "What's the point?"  I really felt the end was nigh.
       By the weekend, we decided to head out for a long drive, out to the beach north of here, to get away from the television. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm. It was good to breathe again, but I could not shake the dread. My husband and I prayed together, called our son and made an attempt to get on with it. But for a few weeks, I walked around as if wrapped in a thick grey gauze.
       Now it has been ten years. We settled back into our lives. The ups, the downs, life goes on. This morning as I look at memorial tributes and watch the old footage of the towers, I remember. Seems the end is not yet. I'm looking up. Whatever the future holds, "my times are in His hands." (Psalm 31:15) I look into the face of Jesus and find peace there. He is with me. I'm so grateful.

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