Thought I’d join the bandwagon….since I’ve never shared my story on here before. It was a strange day. We had only lived in North East Philly for about 3 weeks and I had just started teaching 2nd grade in South Philly. I didn’t know the city very well, but I knew how to get to work and how to get home. My principal talked with me and my neighboring teacher in the hallway about what had happened to the towers sometime after 10:30 am. The kids were dismissed from school early that day….I left the school sometime after 1pm. I only knew one way home, 95, and I knew it would take me several hours to get home going that way. So a teacher friend kindly showed me a back way along the Delaware River( Everyday after that, I used that way to get home after-school, it cut 15 to 20 minutes off my commute). It was very surreal…..because I could see 95 above me crowded with cars like I had never seen it crowded before…..it was just crazy packed with cars.
I got home about an hour and half later(even the shortcut took an extra hour or so.) It was sometime close to three pm and I began watching the tv and seeing the scenes for the first time and all of a sudden experience the fear of it all. I remember trying to get a hold of my mom in Maryland and we weren’t able to get through for sometime…because of busy lines. Sometime we did get through and found out her story…which I can’t remember in entirety. But was thankful she was safe. She worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence..it’s right on the edge of DC and Maryland. Her building was on lock down since the Pentagon was hit. That was freakish for her. Her building obviously worked closely with the Pentagon and she knew people who worked there(she got her start at the Pentagon many years ago.) She has her own personal pictures of the damage at the Pentagon that she took soon after.
That evening our Urban Hope Team gathered….I’m sure we prayed and stuff….but the thing I remember talking about the most was our plan for if this happened again. We were in between these two targeted cities….what was our plan if we got hit. Isn’t that just crazy to think about now! We talked about having contacts to call outside the city to make sure each other are ok….and exchanging those numbers with each other so we’d know who to call in each others’ families. (That is if the phones worked at all….because ours weren’t working sometime during that day.) We talked about using our the UH buildings as shelters and ways we could transport people out using all our vehicles…..it seems so silly now, but then, it was necessary to talk about it.
I was glued to the tv for days….I didn’t have school the next day. Just glued. It was incredibley sad to hear stories.
In October of that year, our UH team planned a visit to see Metro Ministries…a hoppin’ inner city ministry in New York. We also went to the ruins of the towers…..that was crazy.! Crazy because there was ash and soot still floating in the air and all over buildings, the smell burned my throat and eyes. We found many people along ground zero just praying with people….anyone who wanted to pray. What a blessing those prayer warriors were. Another side story, in eighth grade my French class took a trip to New York. We visited the United Nations building and also the World Trade Towers and took a ride up the elevator of Tower 2(I think?) to see the the view from the Observation Deck. What a view….I wonder if I have pictures of it somewhere in storage. That would be great to show grandkids someday.
I remember it being uncomfortable knowing how to talk to my 2nd graders about all this…..many of them watched the news and saw lots of crazy stuff. What chaos for kids. I’m so thankful that our lives in the states aren’t full of tragedies like that everyday….like in other war torn countries. I can’t imagine living like that with kids….so I’m thankful for the daily “peacefulness” in our country. And now as a parent, it makes me even more thankful for the people who combat this everyday….our soldiers and undercover agents and so, so many other people who work with intelligence….they are heroes. True, true heroes. Their stories of heroism will continue down the line of generations in their families. That is a great blessing and a great heritage of our country.
And after living outside of our country this year(not that CR is a dangerous place)….it makes me more thankful for our country and it’s freedoms.