Wiley: Terror of 9/11 hit too close to home
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 23:09
September 11, 2001, started like any other day in Windsor, Virginia. I woke up, got dressed for fourth grade and ate my breakfast like any other day. There was nothing in the air that made this day any different from yesterday. Sadly, that was all about to change for this small town and the country as a whole.
I grew up in Windsor, Virginia, which is located about three hours away from Washington D.C and the Pentagon. The attacks were very close to home.
When I arrived at school that day, everything seemed normal. We started classes as usual, and at about 9:30 a.m., we were supposed to head to gym. As the teacher started to line us up, everything seemed to come to a halt. Hushed whispers began to swirl around the classroom among the teachers. As fourth graders, we had no idea what was going on. The intercom came on with the principal requiring all televisions to be turned off and all students were to remain in their classrooms.
We later discovered that the first World Trade Center tower was struck at 8:46 a.m. and the second tower had been hit at 9:03 a.m. The Pentagon was hit at 9:37 a.m. and the final plane went down in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m.
As word spread around school, a hush came over the teachers. All you could hear was silent sobbing. Our classes had been canceled and we were to remain in school until our parents could come get us. I heard a third grade teacher scream, and in that moment, I knew our lives would never be the same.
Someone close to her had been in the area of the Pentagon when the plane hit. She didn’t know if they were okay or if she would ever see them again. Eventually she learned that her friend was fine but the paralyzing fear of the situation was too much for her to handle. Emotions were charged among the teachers and students that day and for everyone across the globe.
Patriotism and unity were the two mottos I took away from this horrible event but the attacks brought the whole nation together.
We will always remember the exact moment when we heard the news of the September 11 attacks. No matter if we were at school, the grocery store, or our front yards, we all remember the day we lost so many people but gained the understanding that we are all one big family. We have to present a united front and protect the ones around us.
The 9/11 attacks claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people. A memorial in New York City was constructed to honor all of the men and women who lost their lives on this horrible day. Two water monuments stand in place of where the towers stood and every fallen person’s name is etched into bronze around the reflecting pools.
Every year on September 11, take a moment and reflect on this day in history. Remember what you are blessed with and remember what a great country we live in.