Sunday, September 11, 2011


I remember where I was on 9/11. I know a lot of people can remember where they were on 9/11. I know as I get older a new separator will be put into the generation gap: those who can remember and those who can't. I teach and most of my students were in third or fourth grade with a few being in the second grade when 9/11 happened. For the most part, these kids do not know a country without the lingering horror and saddness of 9/11.

I just hope amongst all the TV specials, documentaries, coffee table books that the students don't think of 9/11 as something that happened a long time ago, but instead realize how much our nation changed in less than 12 hours.

I know that as a freshman at Clemson University, I didn't know how much things were going to change and on that day, how much they had changed. I had stayed up almost all night studying for an astronomy exam and hadn't even gotten comfortable in skinny dorm room bed when the phone rang.

Mom: Hi honey! Just called to say good luck on your exam. And you need to turn on your TV.
Me: Uggh. Five more minutes. I have five more minutes before I have to get up.
Mom: Trust me, turn on your TV. It is important.
Me: Ok.(realizing it must be important because my mom never watches TV)
Click of the TV. A tiny screen propped up on the top of a microfridge unleashed scenes of horror.

I went to take my exam right as a plane hit the Pentagon. I answered C for all the questions and went back to the dorm room. My roommate and I sat the rest of the of our classes canceled...watching the TV. We knew our lives had changed, but we could never imagined how much they had changed.

Now, ten years later, I can think back to the dorm room, full of cheer with crazy colored posters on cinder block walls, text books haphazardly on a generic college-issued desk, and dark images surreal on a TV screen. An innocent girl, barely a month into college and living away from home: how could she comprehend two planes and two towers? How can she express to her students, children just as she was ten years ago, the importance of 9/11 when ten years ago she barely understood it herself? I don't know if I will ever be able to express the importance  of 9/11 or how the world she knew and expected to be there when she graduated from college changed, but I know I will and can try, because change doesn't happen when people forget.

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