Our principal came on the P.A., interrupting classes. His voice was shaky, hesitant. Then we heard what sounded like crying. For what seemed the longest time, we didn't know if he was even going to speak. Finally, he chocked out these words, "America is under attack."
The words didn't register. Under attack? Why? Where? Do we need to do something? I turned on my classroom TV just as the second plane hit. For most of the morning, classes came and went...all silently engaged, and trying to process the movie-like images.
While we watched from the safety of our classroom, the students and staff at Stuyvesant High School, four block from Ground Zero watched too. But their watch was different. Everything about their lives changed that day...the certainty of a future erased.
In 2002, the group that witnessed first hand, minute by minute, the evil that unfolded, stood on a stage and recounted history. They saw what we did not see. They felt what we all felt, but to a magnified degree.
with their eyes is the collection of monologues shared by students, teachers, officer workers, janitors...united forever by the events of September 11. These are voices of fear, shock,pain, confusion, and eventually - hope, belief, faith and patriotism. Every one is moving and memorable. One of the opening memories is shared by a student standing at a window with a friend. She is acutely aware that her friend's mother works in the World Trade Center and that, together, they are most likely witnessing her death. It doesn't get much more powerful that than, does it?
For weeks following 9/11, we were all a bit more careful with one another, more aware, more gentle. But, as normalcy slowly returned, many of us picked up the pace of our lives again, filling our calendars with obligations and events, falling away from those short lived patterns of greeting strangers, connecting and re-connecting with who and what is truly meaningful. I did not watch much of the coverage this past weekend. Too sad for me. The reminder of a day and lives not to be forgotten were enough to send me back in time 10 years, when I finally understood what is really important in my life.
*****On a lighter note...how about that Garth Neustadter! An Emmy! Much deserved!