Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 11, 2001, Worcester, MA, from Christine Lee

The following remembrance is from our own Christine Lee, Business Development, Sales, Rochester NY:

I was driving back from an errand to my school, Abby Kelly Foster Charter School, where I was the media specialist, when my older son, Michael called and told me what was happening in New York City. I ran into the school and found administrators and teachers who were also receiving phone calls from their family members. While we were talking, word came of the second crash- we knew then that we were under attack.Then followed the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania crash.

We cobbled up a television in my library and the adults watched in horror. At that point, we had no idea what tomorrow would bring. The decision was made not to tell the students - to give them what might be the last "normal" school day they might ever have.

Alarmed parents called, but by and large they let their children stay in school. The teachers spent the day in trepidation and despair.

The school day was normal on the surface. However, every transition time between classes became for the adults, a time of hurried whispers. Asking what happened to people, "Have you found?" "Have you heard?" I would run to a quiet place and place urgent calls to Michael to hear the latest news. When the word came that Boston was the origin city of the flights, another wave of fear and great sadness hit.

My youngest son, Connor, was a 9 year old student in my school. When this overwhelming tragedy was unfolding, I walked down to his classroom and stood outside the door and watched him at work. He looked so young and vulnerable. All I could think was- is this our Pearl Harbor? What will happen to him and the children surrounding me. Will New York ever be the same? (We are a "theatre family" so New York is our favorite city, and we were just back from a family vacation there.) That horrific day, watching the death and devastation I didn't think it was possible for New York City to recover.

Well, it is ten years later, and Connor is now sophomore at Fordham University and not only is he living in NYC, (with our blessing) he is singing at a 9/11 Memorial. This is something that on September 11, 2001 that I never could have envisioned, happening in a city I didn't believe would ever recover...

As Winston Churchill said, "if you are going through Hell, keep going." Or maybe it is better to remember Emerson's words, "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars."

Christine Lee
Thank you, Christine.

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