Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reliving the Tears

Yesterday during morning announcements, something interesting happened.  My principal came on the intercom and talked to the kids about remembering 9/11 and paying a tribute to it.  She said that one of our students requested we say the pledge everyday because her father is a marine and overseas right now.  We all stood up and recited the pledge.  And then my principal came back on.  She was talking to the kids and then asked all the teachers to turn on our TVs and they were going to stream a 9/11 tribute for the kids to watch.

10 years ago, my students were probably between the ages of 1-4.  They have no idea what happened but have grown up hearing about it there whole lives.  They live in the affects but they don't remember 9/11.

The video starts.  It was off of youtube.  I have no idea which 10 year tribute video was shown though.  My students are all watching it fairly quietly and respectfully.  I'm wandering around the classroom and my eyes start getting teary eyed.  I walk back and get a Kleenex.  Some of the students noticed but no one said anything.  The video continues.  I started crying.  I took some more Kleenexes and left my room.  I stood in the hall and wiped away tears.  I could still hear it but at least I didn't have to watch the pictures.  My entire class noticed I left and they all sat silently, realizing how much the video touched me--but not really understanding why.  I wasn't even expecting this reaction.

Afterwards, I was going to do my best to say a short 1-2 sentences about it and then move on.  That didn't happen.  The kids wanted to know why I was so touched.  They were curious.  And they were silent.  Someone would raise their hand and ask a question about what happened on 9/11 or where I was or etc and everyone else listened.  Then another question.  This went on for a 1/2 hour.  I decided there are more important things to learn then just whats on the lesson plan and so I talked to them.

Here is the thing though, I have seen countless pictures in the past 10 years from 9/11, I have watched documentaries, I have read articles.  None of these moved me to tears.  So why yesterday?  Well, all of the sudden watching pictures on this chunky, old-school TV mounted near the roof of my classroom brought back a wave of memories.  I watched 9/11 happen live on the same TVs.  I saw the second tower get hit live on these TVs and watched it collapse live and heard the presidential conference on these TVs and everything that happened on 9/11 was on these old, chunky, need updating TVs.

10 years ago tomorrow, it was picture day.  I was standing in my parent's bathroom, curling my hair when the first tower was hit.  I was in 8th grade.  We still rotated to all of our classes, but it was simply rotating rooms and still watching the TV, all day.  Before we went for pictures, our teacher let us go to the bathroom to wash our faces with cold water to try to hide the red eyes and tear streaks.  Some pictures in that yearbook just look sad.

Watching the tribute yesterday brought me back to 8th grade, a day filled with everyone crying and no one knowing what was going to happen, probably because I am back to the same school.  I am seriously in the exact same place I was 10 years ago and watching the exact same pictures.  And so my students saw that I have feelings and watched me cry and even walk out of the room.

Where were you 10 years ago?  What were you doing?  Has anyone else's life path took them back to the exact same place you were when you watched 9/11 happen?
P.S.  I'm just curious.  To my international readers, what impact, if any, did 9/11/2001 have on you?


Becky said...

I was sitting on the floor in the band room at school. I was in grade 9. I didn't really understand what was happening, but I was scared. We listened to the radio in our classrooms all day. When I got home, my parents tried to explain what happened.

A few days ago, Randy and I watched a show about the phone calls to loved ones made on 9/11. It was so eerie. So difficult to hear. I can't even begin to imagine the pain and suffering.

Vicki said...

This post made me cry without even watching the tribute. Your story made me relive walking through those same halls on that dreadful day. I hadn't remembered that it was picture day though. I will have to pull out the yearbook.
When I first found out about the plane hitting the first tower, my mom was having an issue with the VCR and happened to turn the TV back to a news station while she figured out what was going on. I came out of the bathroom to watch the first footage. Then like you, I watched footage for the rest of the day in classes.

Bossy said...

I was late to AP Physic that morning and I honestly thought it was a simulation video we were watching and then discussing in class. I could have cartwheeled in and the teacher wouldn't have noticed everyone was glued to the screen. When I finally figured out what was going on I marched right back out the room in a daze and went home and snuggled with my mom in her bed as we watched the footage over and over. I was glad they didn't show it at the middle school and elementary here. My siblings all came home with only rumors and not footage.