Where were you on September 11th? A question we will all be asked...always. A question that I now explain to my 5 year old when she asks about..."those buildings."
I was teaching first grade in Dallas. It was a normal Tuesday in September. We were still in the first few weeks of school, and I was still getting to know my class and adjusting to a new routine...pretty normal for a school day in September.
Then during a phonics lesson, my world changed, our world changed. We all knew terrorism was on the rise, but did any of us really think we would suffer such a loss on United States soil?
Really? I didn't.
I may have been naive, but I truly never believed I would see such tragedy in my country. I was very patriotic, I was raised to be proud of my country, and I always thought that when it came to acts of terrorism that I was safe in the United States.
I was 30 years old, trying to make my way in the world. Working two jobs and going to graduate school. A terrorist attack was probably the last thing on my mind. Now, it creeps into my thoughts often.
A fellow teacher came to tell me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I really thought it was just a rumor. I have always been the one to think positive in a time of crisis; so I was truly telling myself that it wasn't that bad. Then my cell phone rang.
Nine years ago it was new for me to have a cell phone, and strange for it to ring during class. At that moment I knew it was serious, and someone was calling to tell me.
It was my Mom. She was calling her three children...just to hear their voices.
"Tracey, have you heard what's going on?"
"Yes, Mom but is it really that bad?"
"Yes Tracey, this is real! It is awful! I am watching it right now. People are calling their loved ones to say good-bye...I can't imagine. Are you and your students ok? I love you! Take care of them today."
"I love you, Mom. I've got it under control."
Before I could tell her good-bye, the first tower collapsed. And to be honest. I really didn't have anything under control. I was confused and petrified. I just wanted to see what was happening. Being in an elementary school we weren't turning on TVs as not to terrify the children. I wanted to be with my family. I wanted to fall on my knees and pray.
I swore that day I would never get in another plane, nine months later I did. Two years later I was no longer teaching and flying every week. Have I forgotten? No, never. The memories, thoughts and fears are always there...some where. I still pray for continued healing for all those who suffered that day.
I will never forget...where I was...what I thought...how proud I was to be an American...how I changed.