Monday, September 11, 2006

Where I Was...

"Where were you when the world stopped turning ~ that September day?"

I wasn't planning to do this today. I wrote my tribute over the weekend for Mr. Raja, and while I remember it all in my heart, I didn't think blogging about it was for me. Sometimes things happen throughout the day that just changes the way one thinks.

For one, I hadn't planned to be here at home today. I went to work as usual... and I remember telling my oldest daughter last night that there was to be a moment of silence today followed by the sounding of sirens by the fire department at the moment of the World Trade Center collapse. I also remember wondering if there would be any sort of "moment" at school, but assuming there wouldn't be, as all the kids who were at our school at the time have since moved on, and these little ones surely have very little remembrance or understanding... as it should be, at such a young age.

There was no such silent moment. Our classroom was a bit frenzied today, and the time came and went in my head and in my heart. I had missed the moment that I had so wanted to take, the time to stop and remember. Even though it was appropriate for the sake of the young children, I felt very sad.

So right before lunch I got a call to pick up my oldest daughter from school and bring her home, as she was not feeling well and was running a slight fever. She fell into the couch to watch a movie, and here I sat. Still without any intentions of writing about 9/11.

And then I found journals editor Joe's entry with a link to the CNN website story. I clicked on America Remembers.... The most incredibly beautiful, music began to play... that's all. I sat silent, hand pressed to my lips, staring at the screen, completely taken hold of by this haunting yet beautiful music... my throat tightened, and I was simply moved to tears.

Journal time...

SO... where was I that day?

It was the first day of preschool. My first day working at a new school. My own daughter's school, as well as the school I attended as a child. At the time, I was working in the morning preschool class as well as the afternoon kindergarten. I was a one on one aide for a little girl who was in a wheelchair and could not speak. It was the beginning of a new career for me. A new passion. And I was very excited about it.

As the morning continued, our class went about setting up a routine, but it was pretty busy. We had a birthday to celebrate. Brenna was turning four. Her dad, who worked at the Pentagon, had taken the morning off from work to stop in and give her a birthday kiss and well wishes. Looking back, I always wonder about the fact that he took that morning off, and if that twist of fate had indeed spared his life...

I was in the hallway outside my classroom, for whatever reason I can't recall, when a third grade teacher/family friend walked over to me and leaned on the wall infront of me as if she had a secret...

"Have you heard?" She asked me.

I looked at her, wrinkling up my eyes, not knowing what she was getting at, but figuring it was something big. I had no idea how big.

"The World Trade Center has been stuck by an airplane."


I had no idea what she meant. I was thinking a plane had run off course, or the pilot had suffered a heart attack or something. I didn't understand, and terrorism was not on the forefront of my mind. I just remember telling her how terrible it was, and then returning to my class, still a bit perplexed. As the students were leaving, I noticed a nervousness in the parents... a sort of hidden panic. I felt my heart beating through my chest. Something entirely different was going on. And it was bad.

The children went about leaving and more teachers came out into the hall... the older kids were at recess. Out came the t.v. and I watched as teachers quietly stood around it, watching in apparent shock, and hesitantly, I made my way over there.

The hell that displayed itself on that screen will forever be implanted in my heart. All of a sudden I realized, and yet at the same time continued to not understand. I recall everyone just standing there with their shocked expressions, looking at each other. Whispering, "Oh, my God..." I couldn't wait to get my girls and go home.

Home never felt so good, and yet how could one feel safe? My little girls, 7 and 4 at the time, knew something bad had happened. I did explain it, in simple terms... that airplanes had indeed crashed into buildings as well as into a field, and that some very bad people were responsible for it happening. Mailee was SO little, and so confused, but I knew that she would be hearing about it at school and through friends and wanted to be the one to give her the right information the best way I possibly knew how. I recall just a couple days later how she went to bed crying because she was afraid. We live near an airport and have planes fly overhead every day. She was afraid that one would crash into our home or that of her friend down the road. It was so hard to say it would never happen, when I so quickly had learned that ANYTHING can happen. I'll always have that in the back of my heart due to the events of 9/11. Our country should remember that as well. It CAN happen again. We can pray that it doesn't. We can pray for the families of those who lost their lives that horrible day. We can pray for peace. And if you don't pray, hope with all your might.

"Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love..."

"Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" Alan Jackson

Never Forget...





tendernoggle said...


bobbysgirl8584 said...

Michelle: thank you for sharing that. I remember thinking the same thing after I first heard the news; some freak accident; a plane hitting the first building. but then as the day went one and we learned the truth it became harder and harder to understand how anyone could do such a senseless thing. And trying to explain it to my daughter; who kept asking why would someone do that? and not having the answer...b/c WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT??!!! I remember crying for days; and even now to see an old movie or tv show and see those towers in the background makes me sad. I know this moment is a moment I will never forget.

am4039 said...

this was wonderful. Thanks for sharing what happened on this awful day 5 years ago. A day we will never forget.

pippa1116 said...

beautiful entry. and Alan Jackson, what a poet.  

mrsm711 said...

What a touching entry.  Your writting is beautiful.  I also got a chance to look at your journal and I will be back for more. :)

debbiewebb4465 said...

Hi Michelle, as you know I remembered and I'll never forget. Felt so sad for your little girl and the fear she had because of the planes flying must have been so hard for you all in America that day. Praying for peace, hoping against hope it will come one day. A great entry.
hugs, take care, Debbie ~xxxx~

zosche973 said...

This is very nice Michele......I think I have an entry to write! ~Diane~

magran42 said...

Thanks for taking the time for this most important entry.

sugarsweet056 said...

TY for sharing. Hope you checked out my entries re 9/11 too.
Blessings, Sugar

ksgal3133 said...

You wrote a wonderful tribute about Mr. Raja.
We will never forget.