May 27, 2012

The World Will Know

[Newsies Soundtrack]

Sometimes I feel weird about getting emotional 9/11 is brought up in discussions. I mean I didn't lose anyone personally or even distantly close. I wasn't in NYC at the time. All that it was to me was a scary event on the news. I think I was too young to even comprehend the enormous number of loss or the impact it had across the country. But if you are American, it just simply affects you. That's just the way it is. 
The "ONE" WTC Bldg, 9/11 Memorial Bldg, and Waterfall.

I can't remember if I have relayed my experience that gruesome day, but I guess now's a better time than any.

I was a senior in High School. I got up. Got ready. And went to school. Just like any regular day. My first class of the day was American Problems with Mr. Hatdfield. He was my favorite teacher of all time.  And that class is likely the only class that really taught me anything.

If I had to be anywhere at that time I think I prefer to be just where I was.

I was early to school that day. A rarity for sure. I walked into the empty class room to see Mr. Hatdfield standing in front of the TV screen with one arm crossed over his body supporting the other as he rubbed his chin. His face displayed shock.

He didn't notice me at first. He was engulfed in the tragedy. I can't remember if I asked him what was wrong, if he eventually spoke up, or if I saw the TV screen relaying the events. It is kind of a haze of memories.

I do know this. When I had walked into the class room both airplanes had already crashed. One Mr. Hatdfield came to, he started writing on the whiteboard. He made a timeline. During this time, we watched as the Pentagon was broadcast as another hit. He added this to our timeline. Not only was he trying to explain what happened to his students, but now that I look back on it, he was trying to make sense of it himself.

In American Problems we simulated world events and history. We had already been through a simulation where we basically played a life-size game of risk. Each student had been assigned a country. I was assigned Palestine. My country card gave me a number of secret terrorist attacks each day. I could use them or not. Regardless, I learned quickly about how terrorists affect the world.

As Hatdfield explained, he brought our previous risk simulation into the conversation. I appreciate how the whole situation was explained to me. I appreciate that rather than sit depressed at his desk, my teacher actively used this to help us through the situation and become more educated. He was such a passionate teacher and really helped calm me that day. Feeling more enlightened made sitting through the replays for the next 4 classes less painful. Eventually we were allowed to go home.

At home, my mom was in tears. She had received word that my sister Krick was unaccounted for. She had been serving an LDS mission in Washington DC miles from the Pentagon. Later that day, we received information that she was fine, but for a minute it was frightening that something could have happened to her.

As we visited the 9/11 memorial during our vacation, these events replayed in my head. As I said before, I didn't lose anyone. But, seeing all the names engraved in the stone along the waterfalls was humbling. It made me grateful to be able to visit with my loved ones. It reminded me to tell the important people in my life how much they mean to me. Life is so precious and fragile. 

South Pool
South Pool

North Pool with "ONE" WTC in the background (donning flag)
The only living tree that survived the blast.
Me, Krick, Hilz, Katie, and Bec 
Me, Hilz, Bec, Krick, and Katie
Now go tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. I love you all!

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