Kiss Country Listener Jennifer Smith Remembers September 11, 2001
As Kiss Country continues to share the many memories of the worst day in American history, more and more stories roll in. As the 10th Anniversary of this awful day rapidly approaches, we'll continue to share these memories in an effort to assure that none of us could ever forget. And through the Grace of God, we'll never have to live through anything like it again. Today's memory comes from Jennifer Smith of Shreveport.
I was teaching in Dwight, Illinois and I was in class when a secretary at the school came to my class and pulled me into the hall to tell me. At first, I felt shock and couldn’t really grasp what was being told to me, but then an overwhelming fear and horror as I knew that meant that people were suffering and dying as we stood in that hall. I went back to teaching, trying to put on a good face, but I couldn’t hold it in any longer and decided that my 5th graders should know what was going on in their country, to their neighbors. So I told them and we said a prayer for the people in the buildings and for safety. Then a few minutes later we got the news of the plane that went down in Pennsylvania and the plane that hit the pentagon. The feelings were so strong, sadness, fear, confusion. I was in college in Oklahoma City when the bomb went off there in 1995. I was sitting in class when we heard the boom and the windows shook and the earth moved a little. I remember how I felt that day and so I wanted my students to always remember what happened and how they felt on 9/11. I had them take out paper and write down what they were thinking, how they were feeling and what was going on. I put their letters in an envelope and put them away in a special drawer. The weeks after that were very hard. I watched coverage of ground zero non-stop, I listened to the stories of heroism and sorrow. At the end of the year, I gave the students their envelopes and told them to hold onto them and to keep them somewhere special. I wanted them to have something to show their kids when they learned about that day in their history books. So they could remember how they felt and never forget what it feels like to have their country be attacked. Even now, as I type this letter, I am tearing up, feeling that strong emotion that I felt on that day. If it is still that fresh to me, I wonder about family members of those who died, or fireman and law enforcement that were there to try and help rescue and how they are coping with their emotions. I am a very proud American, I was raised that way. I hope we never have to experience anything like that again!