Of course, today is the ten-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a day that really changed the US forever. One of the big questions these days is “Where were you?”
For me, it was the second day of my internship at the Clayton County Public Schools in Georgia. I had been observing a pre-kindergarten class, and was driving to another school where I would be observing a couple of autism classes when I heard the radio morning guys talking about a plane hitting a tower, and speculating about whether or not it was terrorists. They didn’t give a whole lot of details in this ten minute period of time, which I think was just before the second plane hit the second tower. The news started to come out in bits and pieces over the next hour, and I got a lot of false information. One person said that the Pentagon had been completely destroyed. Another person said that someone had set off a car bomb in the State Department. I heard someone else saying that there was a plane heading for the White House (it turned out to be the Capitol).
That was a weird day. It was already a little strange because I was in a completely new situation (my internship), but the September 11 thing gave the whole thing an amazing sense of surreality. I had lunch with my supervisor at a Wendy’s that was near the Atlanta airport, and she commented how strange it was that there were no planes landing (later visits to that Wendy’s reinforced that – the restaurant was right in the path of planes headed for the runway). I went to a class for kids with orthopedic impairments, and there was only one kid left – everyone else had been picked up by their parents.
When I got home, I finally got to see all the images, and it was terrible. The networks weren’t showing any restraint in what they showed, giving us image after image of the planes hitting the towers from all different angles, people jumping out of the windows, and endless speculation about who was responsible. I watched a lot of it with my roommate, and we were both in shock. I called my parents and talked to them for a while – it was just good to be able to connect with family.
So that’s where I was on September 11, 2001. It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years – so much has happened since then, both on the national stage and in my own life. It was one of those days that really changed the course of American history, and it’s one that will always stick in my memory.