Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9-11: A Day That Will Live in Infamy

I had a SOL to post today about handwriting; yet, it did not seem appropriate after I saw the date appear on my timeline.  It's still up on my page, but this day that will live in infamy deserves a more focused post about infamy.

I was in my classroom teaching kids to read when the planes followed the Hudson River down to the World Trade Center and I was in my classroom teaching kids to read when the Assistant Principal asked me to step into the hall to hear the news.  In my mind, can still see the innocent faces of the children sharing Frog and Toad's antics as I processed news that our world had changed.  At that time, there were no images to see as there was no TV in school and we did not tell the children in our charge.  We went back to our teaching, but nothing was the same. 

I can still feel the emptiness and shock of that day.   I prayed for the parents of my students as so many of them worked in the city.  I suspected many of them would be impacted by the disaster.  I prayed for those I loved who lived and worked in or near the city.  My heart ached to hear from my cousin even though my logical self knew she was likely at Radio City, where she worked. I prayed for my friend down the hall whose boyfriend was in one of the buildings. I prayed as I phoned homes to make sure some adult would be there as so many from the city were walking home or stuck in traffic. I prayed for all the lives that would surely be changed in such a tragedy

Many hours later, I finally returned home to find that I still had no images of the disaster at my fingertips.  At the time, we did not have cable TV and relied on an old fashioned antennae that had been on top of the World Trade Center!  I actually went to the gym to watch the news!  Usually, I sweat at the gym as I listen to music that encourages me to move fast.  That night, I sat still on the treadmill along with many others and watched the news.  There were tears rolling down my cheeks, rather than sweat, that night as the images and the extent of the disaster became visible. 

11 years later, the day of hope and prayer in the light of unspeakable disaster is etched in my permanent memory.  There is only one small difference today in that my prayers are now for the many, many lives impacted by that day.  Today, I include all those who were lost as and their families and those who were lost or injured in the aftermath of the disaster.  I also pray for those who have been and continue to be lost or injured in the wars that continue to this very day.

As Winston Churchill would have said, "It's a day that will live in infamy."

infamy - extremely bad reputation, public reproach, or strong condemnation as the result of a shameful, criminal, or outrageous act: a time that will live in infamy. (


Nanc said...

I love how you started so many of the sentences with praying. I is the only thing that I was able to do that day also. Your visual picture that you paint at the gym was powerful. So many things changed for so many people after that day. We were at peace and in an instant we were at war. xo

Stacey said...

No TV at school so you waited 'til you got home. No access at home (Just how close were you to NYC at the time? I remember my parents' house losing the TV signal, except for WCBS-NY, after the '93 bombing.) so you went to the gym and sat on the treadmill. Wow, Anita. Your writing really gave me pause tonight just like you paused and thought about those who lost so much on that horrible 9/11/01 morning.
Thanks for sharing this with us today.

fireflytrails said...

Such a powerful piece. Thank you for your prayers that day and those since. Today at school we were encouraged to steer away from the "history" and talk more about the patriotism of today. But I think we should never forget. Your writing reinforces that.

BK said...

What a different experience Anita. We were so in the moment. I might have wished I was separated but it must have been horrible with or without the in-the-moment images.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing, the words are strong. Your words let us feel what you felt and make us see you so clearly, sitting on the treadmill, tears mingling with prayers.

On that day 11 years ago, I was in my first year of teaching... not a young, newly graduated teacher, but a widowed, rebuilding life, teacher. In a school full of people and with other family members to connect with, I still felt so alone that day, knowing I was experiencing a life-changing historical event without the person with whom I truly had shared everything for nearly all my adult life. I so identified with those who lost loved ones that day, and thought over and over how it must have seemed as if they disappeared into thin air. That day of infamy led to my Marine son's brief tour of duty in Iraq. He came home without physical injuries but is not left unscarred by the experience. The scars are hidden deep inside.