I was in school, 10th grade. I was walking back to the classroom from the library with my world history class. A student passing in the hallway told our teacher that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. Our teacher didn't believe him. When we got back to the classroom, he turned on the TV, and there it was. Most of the teachers had the TV on for the rest of the day; very little work got done. I went home and turned on CNN for probably the first time in my life, so that I could keep watching, even though I had no idea who Al Quaida or the Taliban were.
The high school was right across the street from the main entrance to Cherry Point Marine Base. The base was on such high security, a lot of the kids had trouble getting home that day. For months after, they searched every car going on base. The line backed up for about two miles every morning. The teachers quit counting tardies; even the buses were late most days.
I remember meeting up with my brother in Spanish class. He'd been trying to call our dad, but couldn't get through. Dad was ok. He told us, later, that he'd gone over to the church, and they went out to the front steps and passed out lemonade to the droves of people just walking to get out of downtown.
But even as I paused this morning to reflect on these things, I was interrupted by a little boy's voice, demanding to have his shoes tightened. Because even though it seemed like everything stopped that day, life did go on. And I'm so glad it did, because I have so much to be thankful for today. Since that day 10 years ago, I graduated college, got married, had two beautiful kids. And one day, my kids will learn about 9/11 in a history class. They will learn what a horrible day it was, but it won't be burned in their memories like it is in ours. But as I remember today, I am proud to be an American, I honor every one who has given their lives for our freedom, and I hug my kids just a little bit tighter.