Remembering 9/11

As a child growing up, I remember hearing adults talk about where they were when they heard President Kennedy was shot. It was a moment they would never forget. Little did I realize that I would have my own story to tell, one that was every bit as lasting as the previous generation's story.

September 11, 2001 was a day like any other day for me. I was a kindergarten teacher in Texas, mother of an almost 2 year old, and wife of a husband who traveled several days a week. I was very fortunate to work on a team of teachers that was very supportive in every way possible. With a husband that traveled so frequently and family that lived in other states, they often helped by filling in gaps for me.

When the news first broke about the plane hitting the first tower, I was in the middle of teaching a lesson. The special ed. teacher that I worked with came hustling in my room with a worried look on her face, and asked if I knew where my husband was that day.  All my friends knew that my husband's travel schedule was never set in stone. He could show up for work and get sent to X, Y, or Z city. This teacher remembered how upset I was the day of the Oklahoma City bombing.  I couldn't reach my husband that day and didn't know if he was there (OKC) or not. I said I thought he was in town today, but I was going to call to make sure. Thankfully, he answered right away.

My husband was supposed to be in NYC when this happened.  He would have been on the top 2 floors of the Tower 2 in a breakfast meeting the morning of September 11th, except he couldn't find a early enough flight.  He was driving to the airport to catch a flight to NYC when he heard the news of the first tower falling.   We were one of the "almost happened" stories that you heard about on the news shows after this happened.

One of the things that  impressed me when I watched the horrific images on the news that day was all of the first responders rushing to the building while everyone else was running away from the building.  Most of the time when we hear about news, it is after the event, it is not watching something currently taking place.  There were so many unknowns.  How long would the structure stay standing?  If two planes have hit it, will there be a third?  So many unknowns . . . yet, the first responders showed exactly what a hero is in every sense of the word.  Hard word, courage, mercy, compassion, team work, selflessness, and the list could go on and on.  Patriot Day, is the perfect day, to show your local heroes your appreciation for all they do for us.  You can do this many different ways.

*Write letters or make cards of appreciation

*Collect and organize snack baskets for their break room.

*Collect money to donate to their equipment fund.  There is never enough funds for emergency equipment. 

If you want to motivate your students to donate to this fundraiser, organize a Penny War.  Each class has a 5 gallon plastic jug like this one:
The jug has the teacher's name on it and sits outside the teacher's classroom door in the hallway.  Students from that class puts pennies in the jug.  Each penny in the jug counts as one point.  Pennies count as points.  Any other type of money takes away points.  Students from other classes can put money in your class's jug because all is fair in WAR!  If a student from another class puts a coin or paper money in the jug, it erases however many points the coin or paper money is worth.  


Mrs. Dollartree's Class has 281 pennies in her jug  - $2.81
Mrs. Greenwithenvy Class has 255 pennies in her jug - $2.55

One of the students in Mrs. Greenwithenvy's class puts 2 quarters in Mrs. Dollartree's jug.  This subtracts 50 cents from her total.  So, now her total is $2.31

If it was the end of the Penny War, Mrs. Greenwithenvy's class would win the war.

I am joining Erica's linky party.  Click on the picture to find more 9/11 ideas.


Unknown said...

September 11th is a day to remember. It is so important to remember the impact of that day, regarding the lives lost and the heroes of September 11th. Your assignment ideas are great ideas to commemorate September 11th.

Arlene sandberg said...

Wow Michelle, I can't begin to imagine how you felt before you found out that your husband was safe. All the "What ifs" stories. Thanks for sharing yours.
LMN Tree

Jen said...

This is so well written, I haven't cried all day until I read your post. I teach in a Christian school and emphasized that we needed to pray for the families and heroes who lost so much but definitely was able to hold it all together until I read this! God was watching over your family in a special way that day and definitely has more for yall to accomplish! Thanks for sharing!

Mrs. Carlson's 2nd Grade Class said...

I am also an almost story as well. I live in VA but grew up in NJ - about 20 minutes outside of NYC. My brother worked in the Merrill Lynch building - next to the Twin Towers. On Sept. 11th, he arrived at work to see the first tower on fire and then saw the second plane hit. He also saw building leaping to their death. He quickly decided to leave the area and start walking towards away. He was far enough away when the towers came down that he was safe. We did not know where he was most of the day. I am so thankful that he was safe that day. I pray for all the other families who were not so blesses.