There are certain dates in history that when mentioned people automatically go back in time. They step back, close their eyes and reflect. There are dates that people know of through their history lessons, but it is the ones you live through that make you stop. It is those dates that you remember where you were when the incident occurred. Some of these events are known by the incident itself, and some just by the date.
Today is one of those dates. A day that stands out in my mind. A day I will never forget!
September 11, 2001
I was teaching kindergarten here in Orlando. I was going about my day as usual. We went to lunch (around 10:30am) I dropped off my children and felt the somberness, but didn't really know why it felt different than any other day. It wasn't until I walked into the room where I had my lunch that I realized the magnitude of what was going on. It was at that moment that everything changed.
My first thought when I walked into the room is... why is the tv on? We had tv's on in every room, but they were all tuned to the school's channel which had the "school clock" on it so everyone worked on the same time. When I walked in there was a news channel on. I really found this odd since children walked through this room to get to one classroom that was off this room. We were very diligent about not having tv's on where children could see them. As I tuned into what was on the television, I froze. I just stood there fixated on the news. I couldn't move. When the next teacher came into the room I was still just standing there... standing there waiting for someone to tell me it was a joke. Waiting for it to sink in... we live in the United States... things like this don't happen here. How could this be happening?
Once the teacher snapped me out of the haze I was in, my next thought was... OMG what now? What do we do? Do we tell the children? Are there going to be more attacks? Are we going to be informed of what is going on? What's next?
Before our children were even done with lunch, our school was put on total lock-down. We had to get special permission to bring our classes back from the cafeteria. (Can you imagine 4 classes of kindergartners stuck in the cafeteria all day??) We then had to go to our rooms, close the shades, and lock the door. Try explaining to kindergartners why you can't leave to go to specials, recess or anything when it's not raining. We decided as a grade to not tell the children what had happened, but knew we'd have to talk about it the next day. We felt it was important for the children to hear it from their families.
How do you go back to "normal" not knowing what is going to happen next? How do you go on?? You step back and realize this is what Americans do. We endour! We stand up and remember that our country was built on strength not fear. We remember that independence is what makes us strong. Together we can grow and move on.
I hope everyone takes today to step back, reflect and remember. But, also rejoice... it is a day to realize that strength bring about change... and change is a good thing