Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years

The blog world and e-mails recently for me have been full of 9/11 anniversary news. I suppose if I had TV or did Facebook I would have heard even more of it. When the e-mails first started coming in my first reaction was "It's ONLY been 10 years. Why isn't all this focus on a BIG anniversary like Pearl Harbor?"
Then as the 9/11 info kept coming in I changed my thinking a little. 10 years ago:

Ram and I were not married. We were engaged but there were still a lot of details for the wedding to work out. We had no children.
Ram was on vicarage and I was teaching.
I lived by myself in an 800 square foot house in Fort Wayne.
Ram's younger brother was still alive.
Both of my grandmas, all 4 of Ram's grandparents, and several of our great-aunts and great-uncles were still with us.
I owned a Saturn.
My computer had dial up AOL.
I owned a TV without cable (3 free stations) and a VCR.

So I guess a lot happens in just 10 years. I still didn't pay a lot of attention to the 9/11 anniversary news. Yesterday I received a link to this site from Cate. When I watched that it brought back these memories and tears-

I was finishing up getting ready for the students to come for another day of school. One of my students came in with her dad a few minutes before class. The headmaster came and got all of us (student, her dad, me) and said we had to watch what was on TV. The news kept replaying the damage to the first tower. My sheltered American view first reaction was that it was pilot error, not terrorism. The headmaster quickly broke my naive view. It was time for class to begin so I rushed to my classroom unsure of what to say to my students. I had to say something because the one student had watched the news with me. I tried to say a prayer with my students. It was so difficult to remain focused on teaching and calm around my students. I had very little information at that point nor did I know how to talk about this with 1st graders. I heard about it right before school started so the teachers did not have time to plan together what to say to our students.
We had daily chapel so it was good to have that first thing in the morning. On the way out of chapel the pastor stopped me to talk about our wedding that we had planned a few months later. Without going into all the details, after that conversation I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get married at the church I wanted to get married at. So I had two huge burdens that day while I taught. I didn't have recess duty that morning so I went over to the cafeteria and watched news for the whole recess and saw Bush speak from Florida.The end of the day we rushed to get a note to the students that there would be a prayer service that night at our church.
There was panic over gas rationing and I spent a couple of hours waiting in line to get gas. I tried to grade papers and use the time wisely but I just wanted to listen to the news.
The prayer service was wonderful that evening. We sang some patriotic hymns that I didn't even know were in our hymnal. It was amazing how word had spread through our congregation that there was a service and how many of our members and their friends came that evening. Everyone stopped what they were doing to come together in prayer that evening.
After the service I talked to my parents about the wedding problem and cried at the thought that we might have to change our wedding date or place that we get married.
I stopped at Walgreens and bought some newspapers to have a paper memory of that day.
After all that I finally was able to call Ram. We talked for hours about the wedding problem, about how his dad traveled for work often and how nervous our family was going to be when he was able to fly again, about Ram's younger brother was in the hospital and how was his mom going to get home after visiting him, about how Ram had plans to fly to a wedding a few weeks later, and what had happened to us during the day. We ended our phone calls with Compline and it was so good to finish our phone call that way after that terrible day.
It's a blur to me what happened the next few days. I remember the wedding problem being totally cleared up the next day and we were able to be married on the date we planned at the church we planned. I remember Bush speaking to America but not sure if I watched it live or when it was replayed the next day or if I taped it. I really did not watch very much news coverage as I was either at school teaching or on the phone with Ram most of the next few days. By the weekend when I had time to watch it I had had enough of seeing the same photos over and over.

One part that I don't know how to explain to children that were too young to remember or not born yet like the Lambs is this was not a one day event. This was on the minds of Americans for months. It was in the back of our mind when we were married 3 1/2 months later-it was a real fear that all of Ram's family, some of my family, and several of our friends were going to be flying to our wedding. I remember real relief meeting Ram's parents at the airport a few days before our wedding. Our best man almost didn't make it to our wedding because of new regulations and he was flying from Canada to our wedding. My dad ended up driving to Chicago to pick him up a few days before our wedding so that he could be there. I know that 10 years later this story is not over, but especially the whole next year everyone had a true fear in the back of their mind continuously.

We spoke to the Lambs about this a little bit this week. Lamb 1 is older than the students in my classroom but since it was 10 years ago I did not share as much with him as I did with my first grade students then. I have a new sympathy for the parents of my first graders then-how do you explain this without giving them a total panic? Those first graders have almost graduated from high school now.

I am thankful that the 10th anniversary is on a Sunday so we can spend some time together in prayer. Our church is not doing anything special besides having a special bulletin cover and prayers and singing some patriotic hymns. But that is enough as it is on all of our hearts and minds today any way. I'm sure today's church service will bring back memories for me of that prayer service in the evening 10 years ago.

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