I apologise in advance. This may not flow in the best way, but I had to pour my heart out today.
Fourteen years ago, my world was flipped upside down. I was shoved into a world at war. Nothing on the level of generations before me, but for my lifetime, it was a terrifying moment. I’ll never forget sitting in 2nd period woodwinds. The announcement for the teachers to turn on the tv. That a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City. What a terrible accident, we thought. We were immediately absorbed into the news as the tv turned on. Seeing cell phone video of the plane slamming into the Tower. The bell rang. I walked to my 3rd period pre-algebra class. Mrs. Wise had the tv on like all the other teachers in the school. As I walked in and looked up at the tv, I gasped in horror as the second Tower was struck by a plane. What were the odds of TWO plane accidents in the same location on the same day my naive brain thought. How could this happen?
A third plane struck the Pentagon. This wasn’t an accident. We were under attack. The first Tower fell. We moved from class to class in a daze. None of the teachers attempted to conduct class. We were all glued to the news coverage. The second Tower fell and a fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Survivors were fleeing the WTC compound and Pentagon. People were throwing themselves out of the windows.
Trying to alleviate the tension and fear, we joked about who it could’ve been. Outrageous ideas. The British wanted the colonies back. The French realised what a rip-off the Louisiana Purchase was. The Mexicans wanted the southwest back. Teenagers trying hard not to show how terrified they were.
This is a moment you’ll never forget as long as you live. This will be your generation’s Pearl Harbor. We heard a variation of that over and over in the coming days and weeks.
A lot has happened in the last 14 years. The toddler niece I held tight and cried over that night on her birthday is now a young lady. I have children of my own. Wars have ended, a new one is brewing.
This year is even harder. Last night, I saw reports of rumours of attacks on schools today. SCHOOLS. My sweet Punk is in school now. I prayed hard last night before bed. I nervously checked the local news again this morning. No evidence of imminent attacks on our local schools. I still prayed hard as he got ready for school. I prayed on the way to school I prayed as I walked him to the door and watched a part of my world walk away from me. I’m still praying and am keeping an eye on the news much to Bug’s chagrin. She can’t believe I would dare disrupt her Daniel Tiger watching.
We talked on the way to school that extra police officers would likely be at his school today. He asked why and I said that today was an important day for our country and that they were there to provide extra protection. I carefully navigated the importance of today without mentioning the attacks and deaths. My small attempt of preserving his innocence for a bit longer. I told him to always look for the helpers – police, firefighters, his teacher – if he needed help. I know he didn’t really understand why mommy was telling him this and that’s okay. He’ll be okay. I pray that he will be okay. I pray that my children will never have to live through a terrifying day like September 11th, 2001.
Our schools and churches should always be a place of safety and refuge. It makes this Mama worry and uneasy when school attacks and church shootings are in the news. Bug cried for Bubby again this morning, not wanting him to go to school, but to stay home and play with her. Part of me didn’t want to take him to school today. But I did. And I prayed. Bug and I have some errands to do today. I will be extremely relieved when it is pickup time this afternoon.
Look for the helpers, my friends. Never forget. God bless the USA.