The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Staff Editorial: A Decade Later, The Bullet Staff Remembers September 11

5 min read

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A decade after the September 11th attacks, most Americans are able to recall the dichotomy of images from that day. The terror and gratuitous violence that surrounded the events that unfolded, as well as tales of hope and heroism that united a nation in terror. The editors from the Bullet look back at where they were during the event.

Emily Montgomery wrote, “I was in 5th grade at the time and the school had decided to not tell us what had happened, so I was confused as to why my mom surprised me by coming to lunch that day. She said she just wanted to drop in and see how my day was but then spent awhile talking to my teacher, Mr. Desjardins, in private. For some reason I asked if they were talking about the latest kid who lost a limb to a shark, that was one of the summers there were a lot of shark attacks, and she agreed. That’s what I believed until I got off the bus and there she was again, at my stop, and explained that in fact she did not go to school to talk to my teacher about shark attacks but instead that there had been an attack of a completely different type.”

Thomas Ella wrote, “I was in 6th grade, in Mr. LeNoir’s English class, talking about the literary merits of “Harry Potter,” when another teacher burst into the room and told us to turn on our TV. I’ll never forget how shaky her voice was, how scared she sounded. She ran out to warn other classes. Silence overtook the room, and Mr. LeNoir made the long march over to the TV, a look of dread on his face like a man just told he has a week to live. The bright light flickered on and filled with images of smoke, fire, horror, anguish, pain, sadness, loss, screams, dust and death; more than any 6th grader should bear.”

Thomas Bowman stated, “I grew up in Northern Virginia and I was in fifth grade on Sept. 11. It started out like any normal day but I remember noticing that a lot of the students were leaving class early. I remember thinking it was strange that so many people scheduled their doctor’s appointment on the same day. I guess rumor about the attacks got out and one of the girls whose dad worked in D.C. started freaking out and demanding that they tell us what was going on. She was removed from the class and there were no more incidents during the school day, but we could tell something was wrong. On my way home, two fighter jets did a low fly-by over the school, which was odd, so I rushed home. I returned home to find my entire family in the basement crying in front of the TV. We said a lot of prayers that day.”

Anne Elder wrote, “They wouldn’t tell us what was going on.  The eighth graders were watching the news, but I was in a lock down in art class.  My teacher said that something bad happened that hurt people in New York and Washington, and I asked in my snarky, sixth grade manner how that was feasible all at once.  He told me I was unsensitive, but really, no one would tell me what happened.  We were sent home from school early. I lived 30 miles outside Washington, D.C., so I walked home, not knowing anything grave had happened nearby.  When I got home, my neighbor was crying, watching television in my kitchen with my baby sister, waiting for my mom to come home from picking up my sister.”

Brian Auricchio wrote, “I was in elementary school. I was at band practice when the phone rang in my music teacher’s room. My dad was at the school to pick me up. When I saw him, he told me there was a terrorist attack, but I had no idea what that actually meant. I just assumed someone in my family was sick. When I got home I watched the TV display the Twin Towers, with smoke billowing out of them. I live in New York, and there was nothing but chaos in my house as relatives called others to make sure everyone was okay and that no one was in New York City. My uncle was the biggest concern. Every Tuesday, he had a meeting in the North Tower. No one could get in contact with  him for hours until he showed up at his house. His meeting was cancelled earlier that morning.”

Zachary Moretti wrote, “I remember sitting in my sixth grade classroom as my teacher frantically checked her phone in between teaching the class. I recall my dad picking me up early from school and seeming really panicked, and my sister saying, ‘This is the start of World War III.’ I remember going home and watching the Twin Towers fall over and over again on the news as I sat there confused as to why anyone would do such a thing.“

Lindley Estes said “On Sept. 11, 2001, I was where I expect the rest of the newspaper staff would have been during the terrorist attack: in school. I was taking a makeup math test in the library along with two other students who were also absent on the day of the test, when our French teacher ran through the door and turned on the television set in the librarian’s office. Even though none of us saw the horrific images if the attack, we were privy to what the newscaster was saying. Upon returning to class, we tried to talk about what we had heard, but the teacher, under strict orders to not alert the students of what had happened, directed the conversation back to math. Since no one was talking about the attack, I did not realize the gravity of the situation until I went home and my mother was crying because one of her best friends, Kenny, and his wife Jennifer, were the flight attendants on the flight that hit the Pentagon. They had made plans to come to our Thanksgiving that year and neither the anniversary of Sept. 11 or that holiday passes that we do not miss them.”

Cody Royals said, “My recollection of September 11, 2001 is one of the most vivid memories of my childhood. I was in fifth grade art class, and as the news spread, I could notice an increasing amount of concern and disbelief among my teachers. Some of them were even crying. I didn’t even know what had happened until after I had been sent home, along with the rest of my school, and my parents told me. The entire day was chaos. I don’t know if I have ever sensed so much confusion among my friends since then. Everything about that day is still so strikingly clear in my memory. Hard to believe it’s been 10 years.”