Sunday, September 11, 2011

Obligatory 9/11 Post

I've never made a "where were you when you heard" post, but I guess the 10 year anniversary of the attacks is an appropriate time to do it.

I was in 11th grade, 3rd period geometry, falling asleep, getting bothered by all the kids who were being called over the PA to go to the office (I assumed yet another kid was found with drugs in his car). An administrator came by our class and said no one was allowed to leave the room when the bell rang. The entire class was buzzing. More kids were called down. 15 minutes later we were allowed to go to our next class. I was all "whats going on," but I definitely wasn't panicking.

I was on my way to English when I ran into Cara and her boyfriend, and she was red-faced, sobbing. I remember her exact words: "Dude, the world trade center and the white house have been bombed!" She explained they heard a bunch of radio broadcasts in her newspaper class. And then I instantly went into panic mode. The idea of bombs scared me shitless.

I went to class, and everyone was freaking out. I lived and went to school on a military base, so there was a lot of "Where's your dad?" "Where's your mom?" "What's going on with the NSA?" "Do we get early dismissal?" I sat down and started crying, full on hysteria because we were 5 miles away from the National Security Agency and 40 minutes from DC. My dad worked at the Pentagon, and even though he had thankfully been deployed to Korea the month before, I was still terrified that something would happen to him.

My teacher, Mrs. Jepsen, stood at the front of the class and asked who had a cell phone. We were all scared, but even more scared of getting caught with a cell phone on school grounds. "You're not going to get in trouble, someone hand me a goddamn cell phone so I can figure out what's going on!" she screamed at us. Nearly every hand went up in the air, because we all had phones, but no cable or radio's in the classroom. Go figure, public school.

Ha, I do remember, suddenly it was very important to have everyone's cell #. we were even writing them on the board so we could all be in touch.

About an hour later, we were released. Cara's mom took me to her house, not letting me go home until my mom got home. Even though I was 17, and had my own car, I felt like a scared 7 year old, and it was insanely comforting to have my second mom look out for me (turns out my brother Josh--who my principal knew was my brother--tried to pick me up from school when the first reports were released, but the principal was like "no you're not on her emergency contacts, you can't take her home." wtf, she knew we were related. anyway). I stayed at Cara's house talking to my boyfriend Adam while she played Tony Hawk.

After a few freaked out hours, Cara and I decided to get out of the house, and go homecoming dress shopping at the PX. I found a dress that was the hottness, but it didn't distract me from waiting to hear air raid sirens. When my mom was finally able to get home (the first day of 3 months of 2 hour+ waits to get on base because they inspected every single car), she and I sat on her bed, taking turns talking to my dad on the phone. I fell asleep, still in my school clothes, in her room, watching the news. My mom says I didn't move the entire night.

I got a really comforting, amzing email from my dad the next day that I printed out and still carry around with me. But the bottom line is, that day terrified every fiber of being within me. It was that sense of not knowing what's next and that the world was falling down around me. I'll never forget it. It was more intense than being 6 and hiding under the dining room table for the entire night after I watched the night-vision bombings of Baghdad.

So it's been 10 years. Here's to remembrance, Culture Shifts, and being thankful that nothing this Emotionally Devastating, Politically Devising, or Earth Shaking has happened since. *looks away from the middle east*

1 comment:

George Panagakos said...

Very interesting. I went to Centreville High School and I was in a Spanish class at the time. We heard the news and we all left the room to find a TV, as a I remember, and we all just sort of watched it. Can't imagine what it was like for those w/ fam in military/pentagon/world trade.

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