Dressing up for September 11th

September 11th, 2001 was a day I had decided to dress up for school. I was a senior at Burlington High School and I had made up my mind to put more “effort” into my wardrobe that year.  In all honesty,  I was also probably trying to impress some boy—who, I can’t remember.

I curled my hair, put on makeup, and wore my brand new purple plaid skirt. God I loved that skirt. I had purchased it over the summer and was just waiting for the perfect fall day to wear it. And I had decided September 11th was that perfect day.

I remember walking through the hallways with my friends, laughing and joking as we made our way to first period.  Mine was Creative Writing. It was 9:00am.

To my surprise, my classroom was pretty much empty. There were only a few students out of the twenty that should be present. Even our teacher wasn’t around.

I had a weird feeling.

“Where’s Ms. Greenman?,” I asked the girl I sat next to.

“No idea,” she told me.

Then Ms. Greenburg walked into the class. With tears in her eyes she told us, “Something’s happened. Please come to Mr. Donoghue’s classroom.”

We walked across the hall and found two classrooms worth of students and teachers huddled around the small social studies tv. No one was speaking. On the television, smoke was pouring out of the World Trade Center.

“What is going on?” I whispered to my friend.

“The World Trade Center is on fire. A plane crashed into it. But no one really knows why.”

At that point, the term “terriorst attack” wasn’t part of our vernacular. Everyone thought this MUST be an accident. A weird, freak accident.

And then we saw the second plane fly into the other tower and explode.

We all screamed when it happened. Some of us cried. And we continued
to watch the television in absolute horror.

I don’t remember much from that moment on. I don’t remember if an announcement came over the intercom. I don’t remember if we continued with the day’s classes or if they sent us all home. I don’t even remember talking to my friends about what we had just seen.

I just remember feeling really confused and really scared.

And what I remember most was a remark from one of the senior boys in my class. He looked at me in disgust and said, “Why are you all dressed up today, huh? Did you know this was gonna happen? I think Amy’s a terrorist!”

That was the last day I ever dressed up for school.

***

Where were you on September 11th? What was your experience like?

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