Our principal came into our calculus class that beautiful fall day, and the words he chose to break the news to us are ones I'll never forget, "An amazing thing has happened."
Still, to this day, the way he chose to use the word "amazing" gets me thinking. I wrote all about it in my journal from the silly, teenaged, over-romanticized perspective I always used to write about boys, my friends, and the "gross injustices" I felt put upon me by my parents, but, when I read back over that journal entry today, ten years later, just as I do every year on this date, some nuggets shine through. Like, feeling the eerie air-silence deep in my bones at our little private school that was just miles from Greensboro's international airport. Like, those hours in the auditorium where we all prayed, out loud in our separate groups, for our country, those that were the most affected by the tragedy, and, in my small mind, my beloved friends that were like brothers that could be called off to war. Like wondering what all of the worlds combined voices of prayer sounded like to God. Like, when the USAF plane flew over the soccer field at lunch time a few days later, and we all stood and stared at it, children in our school uniforms, as if a ghost had cast a shadow overhead.
There is so much to remember, so much I'd rather forget - the images playing over and over on TV today are the same ones that made me physically ill that day...and still do; the feelings of despair and helplessness, the bitter after-taste of which I can recall all too well. It's a hard thing, this tragedy, and someday when my children and grandchildren ask me about it, I fervently pray that they will have no experience that they can call to mind that compares to that day.
I will never forget.
God bless America.