We had walked up four flights of stairs into our flat (Do you remember our flat? If not, here’s the link to catch you up: http://wp.me/p3Bh9m-da) when our orange phone rang, “Grrrr. Grrrr. Grrrr.”
That’s odd. We don’t receive many calls. We had literally only been in the country (Poland) for 3 days. We were still recovering from the 8-hour time difference.
So we picked up our growling phone. It was the director of the school where we were going to teach.
“Did you see the news,” she asked us.
“No. We’ve been out in the city today trying to figure out the bus and tram schedules. We just walked in the door.”
“Turn on CNN. Now!”
And we did.
We weren’t in America when America was attacked. But we were attacked just the same.
At this point, 1 Tower had already been hit. Our hearts and our eyes and our bodies were frozen.
What was going on? We had no idea.
And then it happened. We saw the second plane getting closer and closer and closer. And then the 2nd Tower was hit.
We couldn’t believe it!
September 8th we had arrived in Poland. We had left our beautiful country safely behind.
A mere three days later we wondered at the fate of this same country.
We watched the graphic horror like most around the world. Stuck to the television screen still in shock. Was this fiction? Was this real?
What in the world was going on?
Fear gripped us, too. Both Richard’s dad and brother were pilots. Were they near? His aunt was a flight attendant. Was she okay?
We made many phone calls.
And we watched the Twin Towers fall. And we watched the people screaming and running. And we watched for days after as the President spoke, as people went around with signs looking for loved ones, as chaos ensued.
We listened as another plane went down in Pennsylvania, and we watched as the Pentagon was also attacked.
The Pentagon—the fortress of protection.
And we were like you. Our hearts were broken-our future became unclear.
My dad always tells me that he remembers exactly where he was when President John F. Kennedy was shot. He was playing ping-pong at the recreation center at his college.
I remember exactly where I was when the Wall was opened (“Came Down”)…I was babysitting two pesky neighbor boys. Sitting on the couch after they had gone to sleep. Watching History take place on the news.
And now EVERY person in the world would also remember this day- 9/11 – and remember exactly where they were and what they were doing.
Before we went to Poland, I was teaching Social Studies at a local junior high. It was fantastic. I was teaching 8th grade, and one of the units was on Government. I helped to instill a great deal of pride in my students for the United States of America. We talked about the founding of the country. We went outside and measured out the size of the American Flag at Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. We learned what a privilege it is to have a Voice in your government—to Vote! We learned and discussed the Preamble to the Constitution and what it meant and why it was written, we took a look at our Bill of Rights…
We discussed so many different things.
But what I remember the most was one discussion on Pearl Harbor. We talked about Pearl Harbor being the last time our country was successfully and brutally attacked on our own soil by foreigners looking to start a war. And oh how long ago that was.
Yet here we were, merely 1 semester later, only 3 days into our new adventure of living in Poland, and the very country that I loved, spoke about, taught on was attacked.
Innocent lives taken. Instantly.
No. We were not in America when America was attacked. But we had no less America in our hearts.
My husband went through the motions…Does he enlist and prepare to protect his country? Does he enlist as a Chaplain? Do we go home and make sure that all was going to be all right with this upside down world?
We didn’t know what to do.
But we always knew where to go.
So we went before God asking for direction. And he asked us to remain in Poland.
We did. But we, like all of you, will never forget.
Thousands of miles and an ocean separated us, but we remained and always will proud Americans.
The Towers fell. Lives were instantly changed. But we, as Americans, will go on.
Today I continue to proudly say, God bless America. Land that I love.
And I, along with you, will remember those whose lives were lost. And to all that bravely fought to save them. And to our soldiers that protect our country each and every day.
9/11 will never be forgotten…no matter where you were when it happened.