I was walking down the hall when my assistant principal stuck her head out the door of her office, and said, "Go turn on your tv in your room. I think we are under attack."
From her tone and the look on her face, I knew something serious was happening.
I went directly to my classroom and turned on the tv. I stood there in shock, watching the images on the screen. By the time the second plane crashed into the towers, my room was full of students.
Tears were streaming down our faces. I literally felt sick at my stomach--actually, more like someone had punched me in the stomach.
I wanted to go home.
I wanted to call all my kids and bring them home with me. Like a mother hen, I wanted to gather all my chicks together in one place.
I wanted to know if Jeana's husband was at the airport, and if he was, I wanted him to leave.
I wanted all my grandbabies in my lap, right then, so I could hold on to them, feel their soft skin and their clean scent and their soft breath.
But I had a room full of kids.
And they couldn't go home either.
So we sat there together, watching in helpless horror, as the towers fell, the air filled with debris, thefire fighters and police cried for the lost heroes, the emergency workers ministered to those who had escaped.
We hugged each other, wiped each other's tears, held hands.
It was horrible.
But we couldn't stop watching.
Every time the images of the airplanes crashing were replayed, there was a sort of collective breath-holding, as if this time it wouldn't happen. But it did. Every time.
Babies born to those fathers killed in the carnage are five years old this year. Five years without their daddies.
Men and women live with memories, instead of their spouses.
Families sit down to eat, with an empty chair at the table.
Fire fighters miss their buddies.
Police officers struggle to hold back their tears at the sound of bagpipes.
Oh Lord, creator of the universe, father of us all, help us to make sense of these events. Hold those who grieve close to your heart.