Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 Years Ago Today

 **please pause my regular play list and turn the volume on your computer up**

9 years ago today I was a freshmen at St. Pius X in Atlanta, Ga. I had been living in the US for about 5 weeks. I was living in a small, 3 bedroom rental apartment with my family. I had about 4 friends at school and I was trying to break into the theater program. Every day when we had in class prayer, I would pray for all my friends I had left in Europe.

I don't remember many days specifically from that year, maybe performances, or events, but not whole days. Except for Tuesday, September 11th. I remember everything from that day. I attended my 1st period class like normal and then continued onto my 2nd period class, religion with coach Gilbert. He was trying to explain something, with a mess of notes on the board. I was looking at RN like he was crazy and she giggled. Then someone knocked on the door, nothing exciting. Coach Gilbert was called out of class, which was a little weird. Normally he would have the note and kept on teaching. He was out there for what seemed like ever, but was probably about 2 minutes. He came back in and just sort of stood there looking out at us. He didn't say anything, he just kept staring at us. Then, taking a deep breath he said, "someone is attacking New York City". We all sort of stared at him, not understanding what was going on.

He turned on the TV, which was all static. After fiddling with it, an image appeared on the screen. It is an image I will never forget. Smoke poured out of the towers, at this point they had both been hit. I was trying to imagine what was going on, having never been to NYC. The news didn't explain why this was such a big deal (other then the obvious).

Then the pentagon was hit. The news man said it, but I don't remember seeing pictures. I turned to RN and asked her what the pentagon was. Living over seas, my education had been more world focused then US focused. I had studied America and its history, but not in depth. She tried to explaine it to me but the bell rang and the principal came on the speaker system. He addressed the school and told them what had happened. He told us we would continue on with the regular school day, and he would keep us updated with any new news.

I walked through the breeze way to the math and science building (clear on the other side of the campus) where I went to Mr. Carroll's Algebra II math class. Mr. Carroll (CC), now a basketball coach at a small college, was by far my favorite teacher. He was strict and encouraged competitiveness between his students. I always excelled in his class because of his structure. Now CC loved giving detentions, and he was very very strict about his starting class on time policy. We had to have our bottom in the seat when the bell rang, or we were late. There was a boy in my class, GM, and he was the class clown. He was smart, and he worked with CC. GM had a hard time with the rule, and he would always taunt CC by hanging out and not sitting in his seat.

Well this day, when the bell rang, GM was not in his seat. He was not even in the classroom. He was the only one missing so when CC asked if anyone had seen him, someone said had. CC then sent the attendance form to the office (how SPX made sure we were all in the right place at the right time, no skipping classes). CC said he was aware of what was happening, but that we needed to continue with class as we had a test later that week. So we all got down to business. About 10 minutes into class, the door opened and GM walked in. A hush fell over the class, as we waited for him to explain where he had been and what CC was going to say. Without being asked GM told CC "I was in the chapel praying" and he sat down. I was new to an all catholic school, I had attended international schools so we had religion classes but no religious affiliation. I was aghast when CC said that was fine, and continued to teach. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but this memory sticks out in my mind so clearly.

After that class we were sent home from school because we were in a 10 mile radius of the CDC and city officials were afraid it might be the next target. It was chaos with everyone calling home for rides and parents trying to get off work. I finally got picked up by my mom and we got my brother and sister and went home. My dad returned home soon after and then the work began.

We all got on separate computers trying to get a hold of friend in Belgium. NATO headquarters is located there so it was at a very high risk of attack. Our cable was out, so we had to use a wire hanger to try and pick up signal to just watch TV. Our internet was slow and phone calls weren't going through, so it was a very very scary time for us.  I remember crying myself to sleep that night begging God to keep everyone safe.

I offer these photos in remembrance of what happened that day


Jordan Streetman (Southern Hospitality) said...

seeing these pictures still make me mad the way I did that day.

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