On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was in first period gym class in eighth grade when I heard the news.
I was out of rhythm and scrambling to the bus that morning, which I watched pull away as soon as I reached the bottom of my driveway. I knew I could catch another bus if I ran a few blocks, but I had to get going right then and there. I made that late bus with seconds to spare, covered in sweat and filled with all of the teen aged angst of an eighth grade boy. We were only a few days into a new school year. What a bummer.
I recall taking note of how clear the sky was that day as I walked through the front door of my Middle School. I endured the ugly stare from one of the administrators, whose eyes told me I was tardy long before they asked.
I jogged into the gym towards the boys locker room. One of the gym teachers shouted out something like, "Homan! Get a move on!" As I entered the boys locker room, I walked passed the office of the head gym teacher, who starred grimly at a television on his desk. "A plane just hit the World Trade Center in New York," he said plainly, almost dumbfounded. I tried to read his emotions, not certain of what to say.
Then another plane hit while I was changing into gym shorts. I was unaware of this. A few moments later, I ran out to join my friends in basketball shoot around warm ups when the principal announced that two planes hit the Towers in New York and one plane hit the Pentagon. "America is under attack," he said.
I don't think we learned a single thing in classes that day. Each room had a TV and every channel was broadcasting the disaster. Kids talked about impending war, revenge and justice. Teachers would try to dissuade that kind of talk, but they themselves were stunned and scared.
It was a day that too shall live in infamy, laying the groundwork for two wars, economic strife and a new definition of security. I can't think of any other dark day under skies so clear and blue as that morning.