Friday, September 9, 2011

We Remember

As the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks near, Americans are recalling what happened that day. We all remember where we were, who we were with, and how we felt the first time we saw the planes fly into the towers. I am no exception. The History department at our school is doing a wonderful set of lessons to help the kids grasp what happened on that fateful day. It blows my mind that these kids barely remember even hearing about it from their parents. They weren't even in school yet! Today, I continued the History department's lessons and had the students post a journal about their thoughts on the attacks. It amazes me how detached many of them feel about the whole event. That is not the case for those of us that remember.

I was in my 8th grade NC History class when the attacks happened. It wasn't until in between classes that I actually learned that something happened. The teachers were scrambling about talking while we rushed to classrooms to see the TV. Our language arts teacher turned on the news and let us sit there in watch. We were stunned silent. How often is a class of 8th graders silent? Almost never. She then prompted us to get out our composition notebooks and write exactly how we felt about what we were seeing. I wish I still had that journal. I can only imagine the raw emotion each of us included in our writing.

The rest of the day was out of whack as we all began to speculate what would happen next. At that point we had no idea if there were more planned attacks or if we were safe. Countless students were called out of class as panicked parents fled to the school to pick them up. For those of you wondering, Jenny Ward did not feel the need to pick her five bundles of joy up from school. Can you really blame her? She got one day off a week from work and us. Screw the terrorist attacks, she was enjoying her day off! Needless to say, we were all safe as was good 'ol Huntersville, NC. No one ever attacked the nuclear power plant or downtown Charlotte as everyone feared.

Looking back now, I can honestly say I have never felt such uncertainty and fear as I did in that very moment. It was like we all realized that if the adults in our lives were this upset, something unique must really be happening. While I hope nothing like that ever happens again, I do wish for my students to learn the significance of that day and the events that transpired because of it.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?
-Alan Jackson

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