Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reflections From A Past Life

The events of the 73rd day of my relationship with Dr Pop, as I remember them...

It was 7:30AM when I walked into the school. The day started at 8:05, and we were required to sign in at 7:30. I was on time. I ran up to my classroom to straighten things, check email, and set up for the day. We were having a library day (for the uninitiated, a "library day" was a day where you spent 1/2 the class period in the library, checked out a book, and spent the rest of the day in the classroom reading). In other words, it was planned day of teacher being lazy.

I put the sign on my classroom door, gathered my notebook and roll sheets, and headed down to the library at around 7:50. The TV was on, but I didn't really pay attention. The librarian mentioned a plane crash, but it didn't register. I ran back up to my classroom to get something I'd forgotten and my cell phone rang. It was Dr Pop. "We're being attacked." We talked for a minute and I promised I'd call him back. I had to go back downstairs. The bell rang and kids started filing into the school and into the library. The picture on the TV caught my eye and I started to watch what was going on. And then, there was a plane. And two iconic towers with gaping gashes and smoke.

The TV was turned off as children were watching, questioning. We (the adults) had no answers. We started the day. They picked out books and we went back to the classroom. The kids begged me to turn on the news. I did. There were disturbing images and reports. It was a big blur. Something about the Pentagon? One by one, administration came to the classrooms and told us to keep the TVs off for the remainder of the day. I frantically emailed Dr Pop for updates. He told me to come home. But I couldn't.

The day continued. During 2nd period, we received a note from the school district with a little more news. And official orders to not discuss it with our students and to not have the TV on at all. I may have broken one or both of those rules. How do you answer the questions of 100 13-year-olds when you don't have a clue what is going on yourself? How do you NOT talk about it? We knew nothing. I was getting news reports via my email. My attention was divided between the hunger for more detail and protecting and keeping 100 children calm. We kept going back and forth to the library, picking out books, and reading.

Several children were picked up by their parents. I wanted to leave so very badly. I wanted to be glued to the TV.

The longest day finally ended and I rushed home. Dr Pop and I watched news report after news report. And we watched people unified. We watched the tears and the resolve of those most affected. I emailed my friends in Manhattan and DC. They were okay.

I won't forget that day for as long as I live. None of us should. Our world and the way we view it changed that morning. We gathered with resolve and conviction. We determined that something like this should never happen again. Never again. We will not forget.

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