My 9/11 Story

  1. I was in the sixth grade at a Catholic school in suburban NJ, about 90 minutes outside of Manhattan, 2+ hours from the Pentagon, a few hours from the crash site in PA.
  2. I was in science class when the attacks actually happened, but we didn't learn about it right away.
  3. Pretty quickly into the school day, an announcement came over the loudspeaker and said there would be an emergency assembly after lunch.
  4. We were of course pretty excited because we only heard "assembly" and not "emergency" and assemblies were reserved for fun stuff like book reading contests and our annual Christmas wrapping paper sale.
  5. Every so often, a parent or teacher would come to our classroom to collect another student to leave for the day.
  6. We were confused and excited. Would we get to leave next? What was the assembly? How come so many people have gone home early?
  7. We didn't do much work for that day. We kept asking teachers about the assembly and why everyone was leaving. They never gave us answers. I distinctly remember asking a teacher, "is it a fun assembly?" And she said, "no," which just piqued my interest more.
  8. I broke the dress code that day. I was in the middle school, so our uniform was a little more grown up than the elementary school. When we could, the girls would "forget" to wear knee socks and opt for ankle socks. This was one of those days I chose to wear ankle socks.
  9. After lunch, we shuffled into the church, where the principal was waiting for us.
  10. The first thing out of her mouth was, "we are under attack."
  11. This was confusing and scary for us sixth graders. Before she was able to elaborate, a lot of the younger students broke out in tears and gasps and had to be escorted out of the church. My sister was in third grade, and I noticed her being escorted out down the aisle, sobbing into the nurses arms.
  12. The principal explained as best she could to a room full of children. She then excused the elementary students and told the middle school to stay. She came to where we were sitting near the back of the church and gave us more details.
  13. She sat right across from me and noticed my ankle socks and didn't say a word.
  14. After she explained the attacks to us in greater detail, she sent us back to class. We spent the rest of the day watching the news.
  15. After school, my mom picked me up and I noticed my sister wasn't there. She said she picked her up earlier and decided to leave me in school because she didn't think anything would happen there.
  16. I came home and watched TV with my family for the rest of the day.
  17. The next day at school, everyone had crazy stories. One classmates uncle was late to work and was just walking into the building when one of the planes hit and he got out unscathed.
  18. It's always baffled me that no one close to my family or friends was lost that day, considering our proximity to the all of the attacks and the amount of people from or area that commute to both NY and DC on a daily basis.