Like for pretty much everyone else, it was just supposed to be a normal Tuesday. I was in 8th grade. Shortly after getting to my homeroom–a “temporary” classroom located apart from the main building, I remember sitting at my desk as my teacher, Ms. Crawford, told us that “a plane had struck into a building.” At the time, I had the image of a small plane–about the same size as those I’ve seen belonging to the flying school not too far from where I live–crashing into some random building, and that it was some kind of accident.
I was thinking, “Why is she telling us this? What does this have to do with anything?”
Fast forward to second period, Band class. Instead of practicing, we all sat around the room, and I heard the same thing…planes crashing into buildings. I can’t remember if there was a TV on; I don’t think there was, because I still didn’t quite understand what was going on. All I knew at that point was that they were calling for early dismissal, and suddenly we were moving to the cafeteria.
At that point, I can remember thinking, “My dad is at work. I have no one to pick me up from school.” It was then that I saw one of my friends, sobbing. Her mom worked at the Pentagon, which was also hit. She had managed to have her dad come pick her up, and when he arrived, he asked if I needed a ride, and I said yes. I found out a few days later that my friend’s mom was safe, thank God.
I was in so much of a daze after getting home that I don’t remember who was home first, whether it was me or my mom. I don’t remember if my brother had gotten home before or after I did. I think I was the first one home…but all I remember is going downstairs to turn on the TV and finally see what my teachers were talking about.
This wasn’t just a small plane, but a passenger aircraft. and it wasn’t just a random building, but two very tall buildings in New York. Before that day, I had no idea what the “World Trade Center” was. And it was on September 11th that I finally saw it for the first time on TV, and both towers were smoking and in flames. I think by that time the towers had already collapsed, but all I remember is seeing replays of the towers over and over again.
It was by this time that I had wondered what happened to my dad. He works in DC, and I had no idea if anything else could have possibly happened. I found out later after my dad got home that he had gotten into an unrelated traffic accident; someone stopped to ask him for directions, and shortly after they both got back on the road, that same person accidentally rear-ended the mail truck my dad was in, causing my dad to suffer a back injury from whiplash.
The rest of the day was blurry. I remember not going to school the next day, and possibly the day after that, and maybe even for the rest of that week. I just don’t remember.
I tend to not remember many things very well. You would think that my memory of 9/11 would be as clear as a bell, but it isn’t. I can only recall that life forever changed after that day.