Friday, September 9, 2011

My 9/11 memories

I have been on the edge of crying all day.  I'd been dreading this day for a week, we had our 9/11 memorial at work. I have a hard time keeping it together and I hate crying in public.  My big girl job is teaching. My students have a very shielded account of what happened that day, not only because of age but also the lack of proximity to Washington or NY. 

I live in Ohio now, but in 2001 I lived in Washington, D.C., still a newly wed, starting my second year in my job.  I had just heard that a plane had hit the world trade center from a co-worker and we all assumed that it was a freak accident.  It was maybe a minute before 3rd period, so we all figured we'd hear about on the nightly news. 

I announced to my class that I'd just heard there was a plane crash in NY and I remember this kid say "Who cares?".  I told  him my dad was a pilot so I immediately think of my father when I hear about crashes.  I wasn't worried about him since he was a corporate pilot.  The rest of period went on, and by 4th period the kids where coming in saying that there 2 buildings hit, that they'd fallen down.  I was sure that they were being typical kids and were exaggerating.  Then my fellow XC coach walked by, running his hands through his hair looking extremely distressed and told me "They've hit the pentagon- we're under F-ing attack!"  I just couldn't get my head around this...there were no TVs in my room, no announcements had been made, no smartphones to check.  

I tried to get online and all the websites were overloaded, then Marina (can't believe I still remember her name) who was Russian, tried a Russian news website and sat there and translated for the whole class.  Kids started getting panicky as they realized that their parents were in the pentagon or had family downtown.  There was news that another plane was heading for the DC area. Honestly, I don't know how but  I managed to keep calm.  

Then it was lunch time, and my department ate together in our workroom, listening to the local news radio.  Every single one of them had spouses were federal employees.  The metro was closed, evacuations of DC were happening.  Then we got the call that schools were closing early so they could use the buses to help evacuation of downtown.  I went out to my car, which I couldn't find because I'd parked in the back since we were going to have XC meet that afternoon- something so normal.  So drove home listening to the local radio, trying to grasp what was going on.  I got home around 1 and found my dh at our neighbors apartment watching the coverage together.  I sat there stunned like every one else. 
Pentagon-maybe a week later, taken from our car

It was so strange that people were just pulling off the exit ramp and walking towards the pentagon, we were not alone in our need to see.
We had some desire to see first hand the damage later, to pay our respects at the pentagon.   Here are a few of our photos.

  Since May 2001, I'd been doing a Marathon training program supporting  Whitman-Walker AIDS clinic in DC.  We'd been training for the Marine Corps Marathon for 4 months.  We had our normal training run that Sunday, and there was talk that the marathon might be cancelled since the Marines are the ones who sponsor it and they might be at war.  The marathon did take place and when we ran by the Pentagon everyone sang God Bless America.  We all teared up, running by other runners who were carrying flags, running in full FD gear, people running in memory of someone.   Here are some of the pictures from the 2001 marathon.    This is my story.

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