I apologize in advance for the ramblings in my head…
So my wife is in New York City today, 12 years to the day that the world changed. 12 years feels like yesterday and a lifetime all at once. Because she’s in NYC, I’ll admit, I feel a little uncomfortable. You just never know what is going to happen in life. September 11th, 2001 was a beautiful day. When you woke up that morning, nobody expected the day to be remembered. It was a normal day. I was a freshman at Shippensburg University. I can still remember being in my dorm when I was told what happened. A plane hit the tower. I didn’t see the second one because I still had to go to class; my only class of the day because the rest were canceled.
CNN has never been on such a continuous loop before or since in my life.
We gathered that night in the Quad for a candlelight vigil, still not realizing the impact of what has transpired. I fellow brother of mine posted a photo of that same Quad filled with American flags representing the victims. The local fire house does the same thing every year. I remember that vigil, and just that feeling…we didn’t think about planting flags in the ground, we didn’t know that would be a lasting tribute then, nor would we know how many flags would eventually be placed.
It’s crazy to imagine that this year’s seniors were in Kindergarten. Some of my students now were not even a thought. Today impacts me in ways I really can’t describe, which is why I apologized for the ramblings in my head. I hang American flags every year in or around my classroom that depict names of all of the victims and all of the heroes. We need to continue to honor these people and remember them. For when we forget to remember, the day loses all meaning.
One of the teaching experiences I’ll never forget happened when I was teaching in Culpeper, Virginia. It was September 11th, and I was doing a lesson and talking about the day that was. One particular boy got pretty upset, tears streaming down his face. It’s an emotional thing to talk about. I took him in the hallway to tell him that it’s ok and his response pretty much floored me. Apparently, one of his babysitters was one of the hijackers on the plane.
Talk about something you don’t expect, but it made me think that these guys who changed our world must have been relatively normal at one point to babysit little kids. Whether that was a true story or not, as a teacher, you just don’t expect to hear that. Was this little boy upset for the wrong reasons? If the story was true, was he close to that hijacker, and actually sad for him?
I think the point of this day is to remember everybody and everything. Remember the hijackers who changed our world, for while some may call us paranoid, we know that we need to be on the lookout for things that are suspicious. There will always be people who don’t understand our freedom, and we must remember not to take it for granted. We are all lucky to live in this great country.
So while my wife is in NYC today, I’m actually a little jealous that I’m not with her. As long as we would be together, that’s what would matter to me. Savor today, tell your families you love them, and remember that our flag was still there…