On September 11th I was teaching at Shoemaker High School in Killeen, Texas. I remember that day as if it just happened yesterday. When I got up that morning to go to work, I did not realize that it would be the worst day I would experience in U.S. History. I was in the middle of teaching my World Geography Honors class when my co-teacher interrupted me and called me out into the hall way because she had something to tell me. At first I thought it had to something to do with my husband because he was in the military then. Whatever it was, I didn’t want to hear it because the look on her face indicated it was not good news. She had tears streaming down her face and I was afraid to ask her what, but I knew I had to find out what was wrong. It felt like I was stuck in a bad nightmare and I was afraid to open up my eyes least I saw something so horrible that it would make me scream. When she told me about the planes slamming into the buildings in New York, I was in disbelief and total denial. Then I started to shake and cried with her and we just held each other there. I told her it must be a mistake because I was just there in New York in August and took pictures of the twin towers.When I was calm enough I went back inside the class and told my students what happened and they freaked out as well. They were so scared that we were going to be attack because our school was next to Fort Hood, the biggest military base in the free world. What we did not fathom at that moment was the affects September 11th would have on their lives and those of their family. Most of them had military parents and they would be sent to Iraq in the following months. Some of the students would sadly loose a parent and/ or relative in the global fight against terrorism. Knowing that their parents were over there and in harms way made it difficult and even sometimes impossible to focus on their class work. Sadly, some of them had to force the fear of losing their parents to the back of their minds in order to be able to care of their younger siblings. Amazingly, they were able to take over the roles of the absent mom or dad until the closest relative showed up to help them. Those kids should not have to grow up over night, but they had to do what was necessary. They are my inspirations.
I will forever remember September 11th and my former students who went through this tragic event with me. With love and remembrance to all my former military families.