8 years

This morning wasn’t terribly unlike most other school days.  Since it was a Friday, the walls (and faculty) of Borger High School were draped in red (and denim, in the case of the teachers.)  The kids were rowdy, excited for the coming football game and weekend.  An announcement came after first bell, as usual.  But instead of launching into the pledges and a moment of “silence,” we were told that that would happen at 8:46… in memory of September 11.

I looked around at those kids.  I did the math.  They were all 7 or 8 years old when it happened.

I remember every detail of that day with crystal clarity.  It was my third year teaching.  It was 2nd period, and I was mixing up some stock solutions for a lab for Chem I.  Then Sammy Silva told me that “somebody accidentally crashed a plane into the World Trade Center” in New York.

I hurriedly turned on my rabbit-ears equipped classroom TV, just in time to see the second plane hit the second tower.

The rest of the day passed in numb silence.  I remember that I got a new student, Pamela, that day.  I remember that we didn’t get much classwork done that afternoon.  Classes changed, and one group of kids wandered out as the next wandered in.  The TV stayed on.

That night, Rebekah and I watched Fox News coverage (broadcast over the UPN, which was the only station we could pick up at home) and, though I don’t remember doing so, eventually tore ourselves away from the screen and tried to go to sleep.

Eight years later.  Certainly there has been time enought to mourn, right?  Time to move forward and put this behind us.  Right??

3rd period today — my conference time.  I made a run to the bank to deposit a check (another one of those things I’ve never been able to do before during a school day.)  I was pulling back in to the teacher parking lot, when I caught the opening monologue of The Rush Limbaugh Show.  Rush read the Gettysburg Address.  Then he told the story of Todd Beamer.

Todd was 32 in 2001.  He had a wife, two sons, and another child on the way.

In the face of evil, this man rallied with his fellow passengers and stood up to the hijackers of Flight 93.  And saved who knows how many lives.

As I listened, I started crying uncontrollably in my car.  I’m 32.  I have two sons (plus a daughter) at home, and another on the way.

If it had been me, would I have been able to selflessly give all I am and have to do the same?

So few of us are ever called upon to be heroes.  While many hope for the chance, I shudder at the thought that I might be tried in the fires of momentary, life-or-death crisis… and be found lacking.  That history might forget me as just another coward-on-the-scene who didn’t stand up and DO something when I had the chance.

I thank God that there ARE heroes in this world.  I am eternally grateful for those who have stood and fought evil wherever they have found it, or where it has found them.  Without them, I would have no country… no life… no hope of eternal salvation.  No freedom.

And I pray that if I am ever called upon to stand in the gap and give my life for my fellow man, that I too will be filled with the resolve to stand firm, clench my knuckles, set my jaw, look my enemy in the eye, and sincerely say “let’s roll.”


2 Responses to “8 years”

  1. 1 Tim & Sandie Noack
    September 17, 2009 at 9:19 pm


    We are not blog readers, but we must say, “WOW!” This should be published in the Dallas Morning News. We too remember exactly what we were doing on 911. Tim was in Cactus at a job site and unknowingly stranded and had to take refuge at your Mom and Dad’s. Sandie had just dropped off kids at school then went home to tune in to Fox News. Hopefully, none of us will ever have to face the same trials as those brave people that day.


    The Noacks

  2. 2 Negator
    September 24, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Сайт отличный. Вам награду бы за него или орден почета. 🙂

    Google Translation: “Site is excellent. You have an award for him or the Order of Honor”

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The random musings of a 30-something, West Texas high-school science teacher. Hoo-RAY.
September 2009
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