It’s one of those days that you’ll never forget. You’ll always remember exactly what you were doing when you heard the news. You’ll always remember how you felt, how you reacted, how everyone around you reacted. It was as if time stopped and you stepped back and took a picture or a video of the moment because you will never forget it.
I was 5 months pregnant with Gabe and had 7 month old Olivia at home. I was in the middle of teaching “Resource Math” for high schoolers who had some type of disability but were still very high functioning. I co-taught this particular class with a special education teacher so we were both walking around the room helping the kids with their work. All of a sudden another math teacher walks in the room and rushes over to me and whispers in my ear “A plane flew into the World Trade Center.” I remember thinking that was terrible and I couldn’t believe the pilot missed that building. I wondered what malfunction could have happened to make the pilot accidentally fly into one of the tallest buildings in America.
15 or so minutes later, the same teacher came back. She was pale and looked like she would throw up. I knew something was terribly wrong. She whispered in my ear again “Another plane flew into the other tower…and the pentagon…and there’s another one missing.” My heart sank. What was going on?
At this point the bell rang and simultaneously the buzz had hit at our high school and the kids demanded to know what was happening…as did we. We had TVs in our classrooms (except for me) so most of the teachers turned them on to watch the live coverage. Looking back, who knows if this was the right thing to do, but it felt right at the time. We were all scared and we needed information. I went across the hall to that teacher’s room and watched with the kids.
I remember sitting there watching the towers fall, hand on my swollen belly, thinking of my baby at home and sobbing. Right in front of the 30 students in the room with me and the other teacher. Many of the kids were crying as well. At that moment I just wanted to grab my things, grab my baby, make Matt come home from work, seal our doors and windows shut and live in a bubble for the rest of my life. How could this happen?
Four years later, I was due with Matthew and his due date was September 16th. I remember thinking over and over again, please don’t let him be born on September 11th. I just didn’t want that day associated with his birth. Maybe that was wrong of me, but it’s true. He luckily waited until the 13th. But today, as I’m getting ready to hang streamers and a birthday banner to celebrate Matthew’s day with family, I will also take a few moments to remember this day. To remember everyone who was lost, all that lost someone they loved, all of the heroes and to remember that life goes on and we celebrate those who we love.