The big question on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is "Where were you when it happened?"
I was at home, watching the news as I did every morning before going to my new job as an adjunct at LSUS. I had just started teaching there--my first semester--so I date my tenure at LSUS from the semester of those attacks.
When I saw the first tower burning, I didn't quite understand. The newscasters weren't any wiser until the second plane hit the second tower. Then I picked up my phone and called my daughter in Austin. She was supposed to fly to Seattle that day, and, sure enough, she was at the airport. I told her to find a television, but she told me that she could get close to one because of all the people clustered around them. Her words to me were, "We're about to board." "Honey," I said, "I don't think you're going anywhere today." And she didn't. The government shut down all flights.
In my classrooms, I faced the uncertainty and fear of my students, as well as my own. What happened? What would happen after this? As we all know, our country hasn't been the same since.
I did not personally know any of the people who died that day, or any of the people who have died since from the dust and smoke they inhaled when the towers burned and fell. Yet, I feel as though I know each and every one of them...they are reminders of our vulnerability and mortality.
9/11 reminds us of the best and worst of humanity. It will never go away. We have to remember for our own good.