I was at Millbrook High School in Geometry with Mrs. Davenport. Just at the end of class, a student came in and handed Mrs. Davenport a slip of paper which apparently instructed her to turn on the television. Just as she did, the bell rang. Releasing us into a sea in the hallways. Students were everywhere, but I was oblivious because I hadn’t been informed. Not yet, at least.
I met my friends and my then boyfriend, M, just outside my class. M started explaining that a plane had hit one of the twin towers. Not understanding, I asked him what movie he had been watching in class. I remember my heart sank when he told me it was real.
Most of my friends were old enough to go off campus for lunch. But I went to the band room, basically my home away from home. Other students had the same idea. We convinced Mr. Mac to let us just watch the news. None of us felt much like eating.
We saw the second plane hit live. It felt so surreal.
My Biology teacher explained as we entered the room that we would not be watching the news (what?) and there would be no talking (huh?). We would have a normal class. I have no idea what she taught that day. Our minds were elsewhere.
My brother was active military at the time, and I remember getting home and being scared. My mom explained that she and Dad had heard from E and that he, for that moment, was safe.
Mr. Mac had announced earlier that afternoon that Marching Band practice would be cancelled the next day. When I told my mom, I remember her telling me that my friends and I should get out of the house, to take a break from all the news coverage.
The next afternoon a bunch of my band mates went to a friend’s neighborhood and played/watched them play basketball. The air was tragically quiet.
I remember I was out on my front stoop something like a week later writing in my journal when I heard a plane fly overhead. The first plane I’d heard since the attacks.
I remember knowing even in that moment, in Geometry class when Mrs. Davenport unfolded the piece of paper and asked “what is it, a storm?” that something terrible was looming. I just had no idea the gravity of what that something terrible was. Being in Raleigh, NC at the time, it was not uncommon for hurricanes to threaten us in September.
I’d gotten a chance the summer before my freshmen year to go up in the World Trade Center with my cousins who graciously took me to tour the city for the first time during a two week visit. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity when I did.
We remember today, and always the heros of 911 and those who lost their lives. Tragedy- an even causing great suffering.