Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Ten years later here our my memories of 9/11 and what has happened since...

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 took place about three weeks into my first year as an administrator at Ashbrook High School. My mom was up from Florida to watch my youngest daughter (at the time) while my mother-in-law was on her annual beach trip. My dad had called me after the first plane went into the first tower and told me to turn on the TV. At first I thought he was playing around because there was a history of plane crashes within a week of my mom flying. I went into the guidance office and couldn't believe what I saw. I called my mom to let her know what was going on because I knew with watching a one year old she would be watching cartoons. We then informed the teachers about what was going on. I could not believe the horror of the day. In addition to the images of the crashes, I will also remember videos of President Bush reading to elementary students in Florida when he got the news. I also remember how clear the skys were as all flights were cancelled.

The days following the attack brought fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. It also brought a country together. Patriotism was at an all time high. American flags were flying proud, you couldn't even find flags in the stores. Students were nicer to one another. We all wanted immediate retaliation, but that would come later.

To my 5 year old daughter the attacks messed her world up. My mom would fly up every 2 or 3 months to visit. My daughter was used to going back to the gate and watch grandma get on the plane and leave to the runway. After 9/11, airport security tightened up and going back to the terminal was no longer an option. She would cry for hours. I finally had to take her to the back road of the airport and make up a plane that grandma was on. Her flight wouldn't leave for an hour or so later. She hated Osama for taking this away from her.

In April of 2002, our school chorus went on a visit to NYC. The stories and the images they returned to Gastonia with will be with them forever.

For the year anniversary of 9/11 we honored those who gave there lives with a video tribute, with pictures taken by the chorus a year earlier. We also had a fly over scheduled over our football stadium. The band played, the chorus sang and USAF planes flew over the entire student body.

I was able to get to NYC about three years after the attacks. I was shocked at the damage that was still at ground zero. I will always remember the piece of the trade center towers that stood the made a cross. I was also moved by the Church that survived the attack and served as refuge for the volunteers that helped during the crisis.

Unfortunately, over the past ten years patriotism has seemed to fade. We are fighting among ourselves. Politics and the economy overwhelm our lives. Security at the airports has gotten even tighter. One positive is we have killed the Terrorist that masterminded the 9/11 plot.

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