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

Dennis Chavez

Elementary School teacher

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.