I will never forget 9/11.
9/11 is my Dad's Birthday. It was before 9/11/01 and will always be to me.
The suburbs of Washington DC. I'm 25. Start of teaching year 3. 2nd period planning. The TV was on in the background. I call my Dad to wish him Happy Birthday, and let him know something weird happened at WTC. I hung up thinking I would call him back later to get some time and talk to him. My role changed quickly to counselor/mentor/teacher as hundreds of students wondered if their parents were OK in the Pentagon. We do the best we can.
The reality that students are approaching my classroom set in minutes before they arrived. Should/can we talk about it?? How can we not? Then one of those students suggested we play music as my students arrive. I scurry to find something. I don't remember much. I do remember somehow allowing laughter to mask the numbness/hurt/worry and fear in myself and all of us. Maybe it was because we weren't playing well. Maybe I picked the right tunes. I am thankful that music played a part in my recovery that day. I stay at school until everyone is gone. I didn't want to be alone. I drive the two minutes home.
The next 72 hours are a blur. I remember the TV on, pajamas, no shower, lucky charms for all meals, and thankful that I lived with my brother at the time. I still find myself numb when I consider. 15 years later, I find myself consumed with the stories of hope, fear, love, work, and people trying to understand what the next day might bring, how they found the next step, and how we all moved forward.
Thanks to each of you for sharing your stories. I am stronger when we share. The stories may bring back pain, but also is a reminder to me that we heal, we move forward, and we continue to ensure that love, hope, and life are the true outcomes of 9/11. 3,000 valuable and wonderful lives were lost that day, but 13,000 lives in America started that day in 2001 too. In our continued movement to look forward, I wish those teenagers Happy Birthday today.
Happy Birthday to Dad too...
Thanks for stopping by. These are musings on how I see leadership in the world and how I continue to try and grow through my lens.