9/11 Emergency!!

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I want to remember 9/11…

We were having our house built here in FL, but we were still living in NJ at the time.

The day started like any other…

I was at work already teaching at the middle school.  I had a class first period, then I had a planning period.

As usual, at the end of class, I planned to grab my cup of coffee and walk upstairs to make a phone call, check my teacher’s mailbox in the office, use the restroom, chat with anyone in the teacher’s lounge, and return to my classroom for third period.

Nothing out of the ordinary…

Until my teaching partner came back from her planning period to tell me that she just heard in the office that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center!

“What!?!?!?”

My mind is racing…how can an airplane not see the Twin Towers????

That’s all she knew!

So I start down the hallway…shouted out “Hi!” to the English teacher in his classroom, who was listening to the radio on his break, and he said,

“Come listen to this!!  Another plane has hit the other Tower.”

I’m shocked by now, because I realize that it’s not a freak accident…two planes have deliberately rammed into the Twin Towers!!

We don’t know what we need to do…we’re quite a distance from NYC, so we weren’t worried for our safety, but my sister lived in Chelsea at the time…so I’m beside myself for her…

I’m trying to calm down…think rationally…continue my routine…

So I go to make my phone call, which is to my dentist, as I planned…

But, when I get the secretary on the phone…

She’s screaming…

“Oh, don’t you know what’s happened???  Doctor’s family lives in NYC, he’s left to go there…he’s frantic…I can’t talk right now, I have to leave this line open!”

So by the time I got to our school office…everyone was in an uproar…

I went straight to the teacher’s lounge where I found one of our teacher’s aides on the phone with her husband.  He works in NYC, and is calling her every few minutes…letting her know one tragedy after another…

We can’t believe what she’s telling us!

“Plane crashed in Washington DC…plane crashed in PA, one tower down, two towers down, firefighters lost, police officers lost, medical people from all over swamped with injured people, people walking the bridge to come over to NJ…”

We all go to the library where there’s a TV, and all I can see is a representative of the terrorist…explaining why this happened…

What???

My mind isn’t working…I rush back down to my room…try to call my sister…can’t get through…try to e-mail her…don’t get a response…I’m praying so hard for her by now…

And praying for all the other teachers, also…

Since, I start hearing colleagues say, “My brother and his wife work at the World Trade Center, my friend’s brother is over there, my cousin’s friend’s fiance was in the City…

We’re getting bit and pieces of the news…

My son attends school here , so I know he’s safe, but my husband’s been home all morning watching this unfold on TV…

So after he hears about the plane crash in PA, he comes racing over to school to pick up my son!

I see him in the office when I’m on my way to lunch…

And my heart stops because I think he came to tell me something happened to my sister…

He tells me he’s tried calling her all morning, but he can’t get through…

And that he wants my son to come home now!

Many other parents thought the same thing!!

So I go upstairs to the lunch room and quietly explain to my son (a 6th grader at the time), that  he’s safe, but Dad was here to take him home…

That something happened in NYC, and for him to pray that his aunt was safe, too!!

I’ve never felt more helpless in my life!

I called my church, and my pastor said that our church was going to be open all day for prayer…

I told him I was very concerned for my sister, and we prayed.

I kept trying her phone and e-mail…

And finally by the end of the day…

She responded to my e-mail…

She was devastated by everything…

But she was fine!

Praise God!

She said she was just about ready to leave for work, when she heard it on the news…so she stayed home…

Thank God!

She later found out that her boss’s brother was missing…

She and her co-workers, as soon as they could, posted fliers, searched hospitals, shelters, etc., but…

He was never found…

My colleague’s brother and sister-in-law, who worked at the World Trade Center…

Were never found…

We later went to their memorial…

Without bodies to mourn…

My colleague’s friend’s brother was never found…

My cousin’s friend’s finance was never found…

My cousin’s daughter was on her way to the City by ferry from NJ, but was sent back after the first plane hit…

She’s fine…Praise God!

I left school in a daze…I headed over to my church…I plopped myself in a pew…

And just breathed a deep breath…

I thanked the Lord for sparing my sister, and my cousin’s daughter…

I prayed for those who lost loved ones…

I prayed for those in harm’s way…

I prayed for NYC…

I prayed for our country!!

So many people…firefighters, policemen, EMS workers, doctors, nurses, etc…

And civilians…

Not military…not warriors…

Just going to work that ordinary day…

A day that turned the City into a war zone.

Though we were miles from NYC, Washington, and PA…

We felt the impact of the 9/11 attack…

It impacted us right on our doorstep…

When I see the beautiful 9/11 Ground Zero Memorial Fountains on the site now…

The majestic, flowing waters bring peace…

And I think it’s appropriate that every person’s name is forever engraved there.

May God heal our wounds…

But, may we never forget…

Those who gave the ultimate sacrifice…

4 responses »

  1. Praying today for all the families that had a loss
    on that day! Thanks for the reminder… We should never forget their loss remains!

  2. The words you wrote brought back the shock and horror my husband and I also felt on that day. The first plane–oh, an accident, but then, while watching on TV, the second plane and a fireball. We knew then it was no accident. It sent shivers down my spine. At that time, my husband was an over-the-road truck driver, and he stayed home. Passenger planes were grounded, the country pretty much stopped for a day! What a day, and remember how people all sort of “came together” over all of it? Remember how people spoke openly of God and prayer and those with a marginal belief or no belief at all were suddenly all ears? I suppose 9/11 is the sort of thing that has to happen for people to realize how brief our lives are–and perhaps they may then seriously consider if there is such a thing as an afterlife–and where they might spend eternity.

    • Yes, even in public school…it was OK to talk about God!!

      One girl gave me a little birdhouse she had painted red, white, and blue, and she added the words “God Bless America!” I set it on my desk…

      Yes, I think it’s a good reminder for America…to Bless God! If we want Him to bless us!

      New Yorkers are so resilient!! Survivors, for sure…

      Thanks for your comments!!

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