David asked what we were doing on 9/11. Go here if you'd like to read his thoughts and what others were doing that day. This is what I wrote (with a couple of sentences added):
I was teaching my class when the principal made the announcement over the intercom that he had bad news. I can't recall his exact words, but there had been school shootings by that time. We all thought the principal was going to tell us someone had shot students when he began and listened in fear and panic.
Then he said that the WTC had been attacked by terrorists. He told about the planes and said other things I can't remember. We all looked at each other in shock and disbelief.
After his announcement, the kids looked at me waiting for me to say something. I have no idea what I said to them, but my concern was helping them deal with their emotions and to let them talk about it. We couldn't make sense of what had happened. Our country had been attacked. What happens next? What do we do?
I didn't have a TV, radio, or computer in my classroom then, so we couldn't keep up with the news. All day, kids would come in my room from other classes where they had watched the news, and we'd discuss the updates. No English was taught that day, but we had productive discussions.
I had them write about it the next day because that's what English teachers do.
This was a time when most of the world reached out to us and was sympathetic. Our citizens were united like they hadn't been in a long time. We wanted to do something to help, to appreciate each other, and to feel like a family. It put our lives in perspective and let us know what is important. What an opportunity that was mishandled! We Americans are generally generous and want to help each other but were told to shop instead. If we'd accepted what the world offered instead of having a cowboy president running roughshod over the wrong country and still being there, we might not be hated. Our country would have been different today in much better ways.