When a catastrophic event occurs, even if we are not personally involved at the time, it can have a peculiar effect on us. Often, we remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and how we felt.at that time. We may not remember details of other events that even occurred more recently and are less notable but some happenings are truly unforgettable and remain clear in our minds.
For example, many people remember the day of Pearl Harbor, death of FDR, the dropping of the atomic bomb, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, and Senator Robert Kennedy. These events did not occur in our midst, in our homes, or close around but were very significant. If we were around when they occurred, we know exactly where we were, exactly what we were doing, and exactly how we re acted.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001, just around seven in the morning central time, I was finishing breakfast before leaving for work as a teacher at a nearby elementary school. I taught exceptional education. Incidentally, a side bar, Bryn Mawr Elementary School in the South Shore Community of Chicago is the school that former first lady Michelle Obama attended. It was a perfect fall morning signaling the end of summer. I sat down at the table in the breakfast room to finish the last half of buttered toast and hot tea. I had a little time and turned on the television to watch a few minutes of live ABC News with co-hosts Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer. It got my attention. On the screen was a shot of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City. One of them had dense black smoke jutting from an upper floor where a plane had hit the building.
Charles and Diane were talking to a pilot who was an aviation expert. They were trying to determine how this ‘accident’ happened. At no point, was it suggested or even considered that this was a deliberate act. They discussed visibility, but the sky in the background was cloudless and calmly blue. Was the pilot impaired, confused, inexperienced, or suddenly ill? Had there been a malfunction that could not be corrected. Why was the airplane so low?
As Diane and Charles continued the discussion with the pilot, a moving object appeared from the right of my television screen. It looked like a toy plane. Having no clue as to what was about to unfold, I watched. My buttered toast was uneatened and my tea was cold. I saw the plane fly past the burning tower. I saw the plane fly past the second tower. I saw the plane make a U-turn and deliberately, with no hesitation, fly into the second tower. The camera, trembled a bit, then was steady again.
There was a silence for several seconds, then, obviously stunned, Diane turned to Charles and said, “Did you see that?”
“Yes, Diane, we all saw that and will never forget it.”
Marie G. Shelton - Summerlin's Writers' and Poets' Workshop - Las Vegas, NV.
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