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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

9-11-01 - Stories and Videos

On the day that change our worldview, Dalton Middle School was somewhat unique.

At the time, we had about 110 adults (teachers, staff, etc.)  We had about 1200 students.

Just before 9:00 our principal came on the intercom and told us a tremendous accident had happened in New York, at one of the Trade Center Towers.  Those of us who recall the building of the Towers also may remember the controversy with the height and location near JFK Airport.  We thought we were seeing what all the controversy was about.

Most of the teachers turned on their TV sets.  But one teacher was on her phone.  She called her brother, David Bauer, who worked between 3 to 8 floors above where the first plane crashed into the North Tower.  David did not answer.  Our teacher, Mrs. Abernathy called her sister-in-law to see if David was at work or not yet there.  He had gone in early that day.  He was killed in the attack.

But DMS was not finished with the affects of the morning.

We had another teacher, a 7th grade science teacher, Mr. Budding, who was a first-year teacher with us.  He was in the reserves, and had served as a counter-terrorist specialist in Egypt for several years.  He received a call around 10:00 to report for active duty.

But DMS was not finished with the affects of the morning.

Our School Resource Officer, Officer Smith, was once the bodyguard for Colin Powell.  He also spent 10 years in Europe as a counter-terrorist specialist.  His sister, our principal's secretary came to the cafeteria to tell her brother he had a phone call.  Officer Smith was to report immediately for active duty.

By noon, three of our school's faculty and staff were gone. 

We also have a student with us today who was in a Day Care 3 blocks away from the Towers.  Her father, a doctor, was not allowed across the bridge from New Jersey to see if his 4-year-old daughter was safe.  She was.  She says all she remembers was screaming, crying, and a dark sky.  We are so blessed to have Andrea with us.  She is a beautiful girl, with a wonderful spirit, and the world would be missing something if she wasn't here.

For those who lost their lives, our world suffers because you are gone.

Officer Smith and Mrs. Abernathy are still with us at DMS.  Officer Smith comes to speak with my classes each year now.  My kids are attached to him like a laser beam as he speaks of his role.  I'm proud to know him, and understand my blessings because of people like him.

After Officer Smith spoke to my classes, I told my story of "Where was I when the planes hit the Towers."  My classes in 2001 watched the second Tower get hit by the plane.  We watched the first Tower (the second one hit) crumble.  We watched it LIVE.  As Officer Smith told my kids, "our building of nearly 1300 people was eerily quiet when the Towers fell, and for the rest of the day."

I struggle each year with what to show & tell my students.  They were young and protected from the realities of the world into which they had been born.  They will never know the "freedom" of arriving at the airport 5 minutes before takeoff and making it to the plane with time to spare.  They will never know the freedom of carrying a full tube of toothpaste on a plane.

We watched the newscast of the morning of 9-11-01.  Somehow, I wanted them to experience what we felt that day, without the garbage of interpretation, blame, and conspiracy.  Just the event.  Pure, unadulterated history.  Here is what happened, as it happened, with total disbelief, attempts to explain away what was happening, and utter shock of the reporters.

I won't forget it. 

Then...

Then...

The students in Kindergarten through 12th grade have a very limited memory of the events.  They live in a country where they are protected from such horrific events.  As I mentioned to my kids, in other parts of the world, children at the age of 5 already know what to do in case of bombs, gunfire, and enemy attack.  Some even know how to fire back. 

We say the difference in America is that we have freedom and democracy.  True. 

But perhaps one thing that really separates us from other countries is that we protect our young from knowing the events and effects of war.  So I thank our military men & women who, in the words of Officer Smith, "Take the war to those who seek war, so they don't have the opportunity to bring the war on our soil."

Since 2001, there have been numerous terrorist attacks around the world.  Not in the USA.  We have succeeded in re-galvanizing our resolve to remain free and be a beacon for freedom throughout the world.

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous

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