It was a Tuesday morning. 7th grade has been underway for little under two weeks and the girl of my 13 year old dreams was staring out the window during first period Social Studies. As I wondered how I would find an excuse to bump into her during lunch without my friends seeing me and calling me a freak lover the rest of the day, the PA blared out abruptly. “Attention all students, we would like to inform you that the remainder of today’s classes will be canceled. We are in the process of notifying your parents of the situation so they will be able to pick you up as soon as able. Please quietly follow your teachers as they escort you to your assigned homerooms where we will begin early dismissals. We ask you to remain quiet and pay attention to your homeroom teachers as they give you further instructions.” No one stayed quiet as the rumors began flying while the teachers filed out of the room to receive those further instructions.
We all knew something big had happened. As a few people began pulling out their cell phones (the relatively few 13 year olds who had a cell phone back in 2001 that is), we started hearing a mish-mash of what had actually happened. One said it was just a simple plane crash over the Hudson. Another corrected him and said it had crashed into a building. No one in the room knew there had been two and that they had done so on purpose. It wasn’t until I had been picked up by my dad that I was told what had actually happened; a group of Muslim extremists had hijacked several planes and crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. As I stood outside my school in Borough Park, Brooklyn while my dad signed me out, I looked out into the horizon and could see it, the barely noticeable but sharply discomforting smoke rising from the Manhattan skyline. The Twin Towers had fallen.