Wednesday, September 11, 2013

That morning

Robert Clark—INSTITUTE

I was teaching PreKindergarten. I walked my kids to music class and saw some teachers watching TV in the library. When I joined them they told me that one of the Twin Towers had been hit by a plane and while we were watching, the other was hit. I immediately said "This is Osama bin Laden," and the other teachers said, "Who?" But I had just watched an A&E Biography on him the week before where he swore that he would strike again and be successful this time. He did and he was.

We frantically emailed parents telling them that school was closed and to come get their kids. It took some parents a couple of hours to get there, the traffic downtown was so bad. When my little babies asked why they were going home early I had no idea what to say so I told them, "It's such a pretty day outside, we want you to go home so you can play," and from then on, every time it was pretty outside, they asked if they could go home and play. And I would feel guilty for lying to them but how on earth do you explain 9/11 to a four year old? How do you explain it to an adult??

While we waited for the parents to come I would step into the hallway so they could not see me cry. There was usually another teacher doing the same and we would hug each other and cry silently so the kids wouldn't hear us. When the moms got there, more hugging and silent crying. Then we all went home and stayed glued to the television until bedtime. 

The news just got worse and worse.

I remember thinking, this changes everything. These babies, my sweet four and five year old babies, will never know a world pre-9/11. And that broke my heart. That still breaks my heart.

Where were you that morning?


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