Sept. 11 started out like any other school day. I was getting ready for work and, as usual, turned on the television to watch the news, changing channels back and forth between “The Today Show” and “Good Morn-ing, America.”
I stayed with “Good Morning, America” because I caught sight of one of the Twin Towers. The top was engulfed by smoke, and my first thought was that a small aircraft may have hit the tower. I remembered hearing about an aircraft that had struck the Empire State Building back in the ’40s.
My thoughts then turned back to the Twin Tower. I recall the news anchor team not knowing what had happened. It was a news flash coming live when, all of a sudden, a commercial airliner crashed into the other Twin Tower. My concern turned to horror and disbelief as I realized this was no accident but was intentional.
I was in shock; the only thing I thought of at the moment was that I needed to talk to someone. I rushed to Dennis Chavez Ele-mentary, where I was greeted by some teachers telling me they heard the Pentagon was hit and a plane targeting the White House went down somewhere in Penn-sylvania.
Most of the staff gathered in the library to hear about the latest developments. Rumors spread that school might be cancelled. Would Los Alamos be a target? How were my students going to react? Can we go on as a normal school day? All these questions were rolling in my mind; I was unsure of what was going to happen.
As my students arrived at school, some were well aware of what had happened. I calmly told them that they were safe and not in any danger.
Talking about the situation helped ease their fears, and, a few days later, our sorrow turned into asking: “What can we do to help the families?” We raised $100 and donated it to the Red Cross.
Later in the year, we dedicated a program to all the volunteers, the men and women of the armed forces, the victims and their families. A special song titled “God Bless the U.S.A.” was sung by the second-grade class.
Evelyn A. Sanchez
Elementary School teacher
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