I recorded these answers in the 9/11 scrapbook, which was entitled New Day of Infamy:
1. Where were you on September 11, 2001 when you first heard of the terrorist attack on the WTC?
"I was at school, teaching a thematic unit on apples. The students and I were deep into a discussion about William Tell. The television wasn't on, and the discussion took us right up to 11:30, when the students and I went to lunch. Just as we arrived in the cafeteria, one of my colleagues came up to me and whispered into my ear, "Have you heard? We are under attack. Two planes have hit the WTC and one has hit the Pentagon!"
2. What were your first thoughts?
"Disbelief, then horror, and then anger. I had felt ever since the 2000 election that the new president had shown very little leadership qualities and seemed inadequately prepared to lead the greatest nation in the world. I thought it was his obvious weaknesses that had made our enemies, whoever they were, bold enough to strike in this way. Then, almost immediately, I was ashamed of those thoughts and I began to think of my eldest son, then stationed at Fort Hood, TX with the Army's First Cavalry...what would this mean for him and all the others in the military? I thought of the families of the people in the planes, in the WTC, and in the Pentagon, and I was so very sorry. I also felt fear...what was in our future...nuclear war?"
3. Who was with you, or who was the first person you shared the news with?
"My students and my colleagues were with me. Another teacher, who is also a close friend, came in with her class and I told her the awful news. She and I agreed to tell our students when we returned to our rooms.
After llunch, I gathered my class into a section of the room called the Book Nook and told them briefly what I knew. They were very quiet and subdued. A few of them wanted to know if we would be attacked right there at school. I reassured them that they were safe in our school, which made them all relax. We turned on the radio to NPR. The children and I listened to the latest reports in horror and fascination.
4. What thought, poem, verse, or song brought you comfort in the immediate moments after the attacks?
"One comforting thought for me was that I knew our fighting forces were the best in the world, and that this cowardly attack would not go unanswered, even if it meant fighting in the towns and streets of the United States itself. "
5. How has your perspective as an American changed since September 11?
"I don't take our freedom for granted anymore. I realize that, while we have oceans on each side of us with friends to our north and to our south, we are still vulnerable to those who hate us."
6. What has been the most obvious effect of this event on your life?
"I think I'm more of a spontaneous hugger than I was before 9/11. I tell my family I love them much more often.
I am increasingly aware of the sacrifice of our military men and women, even more so than I was when my son joined the Army. I also feel that we are no longer unique among the super powers of the world because we now have been bloodied on our own soil in modern times. I hope that small fact will help us become even more allied with our friends and supporters in other parts of the world.
It also reinforced my belief that any mass of people, bonded by a superstition that promises some glorious life after death, is dangerous. Whether the myth is propogated by a form of terrorism or shrouded in good works with selective compassion is irrelevant. Both create a form of mind control that is perilous to all life forms."
"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac
"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."
~Harry S. Truman