Remembering 9/11

I’ve been in NYC every September 11th since before it happened. I would be in the classroom teaching. It’s the beginning of the school year. A busy time for teachers. Preparing, planning, and setting the tone for a new school year was the focus this time of year. But on that morning, someone came to the door. “Did you hear?” I can’t remember who it was, only the panic in their voice. “We have the TV on in Woo’s room!” Mr. Woo was the school’s technology teacher. He had a TV in his room. I had a few minutes before my first class. Whoa! Something hit the North Tower. No one was sure what had happened. There was a huge, jagged break in the iconic vertical lines of the tower. High up on the building by Windows of the World, thick black smoke streamed into the sky.
I had a class at 9:00. I went back to my room. Then I heard the commotion. People were yelling and running about in the hallway. The kids were reacting. I had to keep them calm. Then someone burst in. We got the news. My first thoughts went to my old girlfriend. She worked on the 86th floor of the South Tower. Between classes, I ran to the TV. I saw what had happened and I had to get back to class and remain composed. Everybody was upset. The kids were confused. I tried to explain what was happening but keep everyone cool. Inside I was anything but. More cries and updates to the classroom resulted in the news of the falling towers. When the class was finally over I called my old girlfriend. She answered. Thank God! Her story is phenomenal. It’s her story. It’s remarkable. I am so grateful that she is able to tell it.
Since that day I’ve never been to the memorial downtown. I have seen the lights from afar, but I have always been too busy preparing for school to go down there and see the lights. Tonight that changed. Now I had the time. I am retired.

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