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 Post subject: The Rising
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:16 pm
Posts: 31722
Location: Planet Perfume
The Rising by Bruce Springsteen with images

I was getting ready for work when JB told me to look down from the loft at the television in the living room. I couldn't believe what I saw. The skyline that I saw every day of my childhood until the day I got I married was on fire. Over and over and over again, I saw images of planes crashing into the WTC. I couldn't stop watching it but I needed to leave holding back tears on the drive over to the school.

I was administrator and teacher for a large early childhood program in my town here. I got there early to talk to staff during set up. "Keep the adult conversations out of the classroom. If parents need to talk, ask them to step outside. If they need one of us, tell me. We're going to have a normal day of school."

But of course we didn't. We couldn't. We tried our best to carry on with smiles but it wasn't any other day like all the others. When Pat (a mom from New York City) walked in with her child our eyes met and tears welled up and spilled over. Without words, we both knew what the other was thinking. "Our home has been attacked. Where are our people? What the HELL happened?"

The oil refinery where my brother in-law worked mobilized and for that day, he became a truck driver hauling in a truckload of emergency supplies. Once he went over the bridge, no one knew when he would come back or IF he would come back. My friend's son who worked in the financial district, was in black out and no one knew where he was. I don't think they heard from him until the next day. Everyone has a story about that day whether they were near the City or far away. "What's going to happen next???" "Are we going to be okay??"

That evening the air space where I live was cleared of air traffic. Planes grounded, commercial and military. It quiet was deafening and eerie. It just felt like we'd been kicked in the stomach. Everyone got kicked. We stayed on phones back and forth from the East Coast to keep updated on folks we knew. Did they get home yet? Did anyone hear from them???

The next morning when I drove out I saw something that I'll never forget. Nearly every single country mailbox and fence on these dirt roads were adorned with US Flags. I'll never forget it. It made me feel that I wasn't alone in my shock and grief. It made me feel that there was HOPE. I don't have words to say how proud I was to be an American and also to be an East Coaster. There is such a thing called "East Coast heart" and we saw it every single day on the news reports. People working tirelessly, banding together for the cause, going the extra mile together in their trauma and grief.

It wasn't long before I noticed that the children knew what had happened. We never talked about it in school but they knew. The gathered up helmets from dramatic plan, fire trucks, police cars, helicopters and planes from the shelves. Brought them out the carpet and dragged out the Lego tables to the middle.

They built twin towers, made siren noises, crashed the planes into the towers over and over and over again. "Danger! Danger! Danger!" "Help! Help! Help!" "Fire! Fire! Fire!" "I'm coming to help!!!" "I'm coming!!"I told the teachers to go to the storeroom and get out every plane, fire truck, helicopter we had, get out all the people, and put more Legos out. Make sure each room has a Lego table in it. Get the American flags out. Put doctor supplies in dramatic play. "Let them do what they're doing. Don't stop them. Don't interfere with it. This is what we're here for. Play is the best thing we have for them." We did eventually have classroom conversations about what happened--all child-directed and supported by adults.

They did this over and over again and they did it for weeks right up to and during October conferences. At parent teacher conferences I put out a note about the children's play and supplied an audio recording of their 9/11 scenarios. Virtually every single parent who attended P/T conferences (all but a few who couldn't come) commented on the display and couldn't believe what they heard on the audio tape.

Everyone was hit that day. Even the children. They knew what happened but they didn't know why. Over time they understood more. Over time we adults understood more. Then we got good and pissed. It still hurts to think about it and looking at it still stops me dead in my tracks and pulls me back there in a breathless contemplative way.

But this is America and we have hope. And we rise.

Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.
Chinese Proverb

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