Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where were you?

Where were you when the world stopped turning?
I was in Gainesville, doing my pre-internship.
A room full of third graders.
Some of them would be 20 years old right now....
We were all so shaken and unsure what to do.
We were instructed not to say anything to the kids, but we had hysterical parents coming to pick up their children and others standing there wondering why one was going home.
My best friend's sister worked in downtown Manhattan.
We went on with our lessons, put a smile on our face... while one of us kept running to the office to see what else was happening. We traded off that way for another thirty minutes or so. It was so hard to keep from crying ... all those innocent lives lost ... these poor babies who were sitting in front of us, our next generation; having to deal with terrorism at our front step.
It was all so overwhelming.
I know I kept thinking - what would happen next? Where should I go? What should I do? Is my family okay? Do I need to go to my parents? I had my first panic attack that day. {I had no clue what it was at the time, but I get them frequently now....}

We gathered as a group once we were dismissed; these girls that I had been in school with - every class - every day - my cohort - my family ... Our professors came and met with us too. Every year on September 11th I think about that group that helped me through - my battle buddies - for lack of a better word. Even to this day we message each other on 9.11. I don't think any of us could have known how important our time together was that day, but every year - I think about those people that were there for us... and I am thankful. Here are pictures of our group on graduation day - 3 months later 12.01 - we all wore our cohort number on our cap.... I kept mine and it is still in my scrapbook. :)

My sister and I had been to Manhattan two weeks before the tragedy. We were at Ellis Island, learning about our grandparents... went all the way up to the Statue's crown ... never again... Pictures with the towers in the background... Never did I imagine something like the attacks would happen only two weeks later.

So - today was tough. I was happy to 'talk' to my battle buddies, but so sad to see that flag at half mast. Happy to know that this day meant so much to others, as it has to me. So sad to hear our President last night. So sad to think about my children growing up in this world.

I was also amazed to think that the high school students I was with today - were only 2 when 9.11 happened. 9.11 to them must be surreal - like me watching WWII footage - knowing my grandfather was part of the action.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer - as my friend says... but today - I am giving myself permission to be 'down'. I will rise to fight again tomorrow. Thank you to all the amazing men and women who enlisted because of this day - 12 years ago - and now. Words can NEVER express how much our veterans mean to me.

So - where were you?