9/11: Forever Relevant in US History

“It wasn’t just shocking, it was incomprehensible,” says AP Government teacher Mary Wagner. “A man came to do work on the house and said, ‘Are you watching TV?’ He said, ‘Someone crashed a plane into the World Trade Center.’ I remember when the first tower fell, it went straight down and so much dust and smoke came up that we couldn’t tell if it really fell or not. I kept saying to my sister, ‘I think the tower is gone!’ We just couldn’t imagine such a thing happening.”

History teacher Stephen Cain says, “I worked with a teacher who had been a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War. After retiring from teaching he worked at the Pentagon. He died at the Pentagon on September 11th. His name was William ‘Bill’ Ruth.”

“One of my students’ parents was a flight attendant who flies from Washington to New York,” says US history teacher Pamela Rowe. “My husband was the leader of the FBI SWAT team. There was a group of students in Wyoming on an exchange trip and they were stranded. When I first heard the news, I was teaching at Farquhar [middle school], and we couldn’t get any information. It was a traumatic experience.”

“It was so tragic and terrifying,” says math teacher Susan Boehlert. “The images on tv were extremely disturbing and we didn’t want the boys to watch… I remember the sky was so blue and the air was so crisp and clear. It was a beautiful day but we knew people were experiencing traumatic events and our lives would never be the same. We live near a small local airport in Gaithersburg and it seems that there are always small planes buzzing in the sky. On the beautiful afternoon of 9/11, planes were grounded and the sky was silent. The silence was very noticeable.”

“I was teaching at Springbrook, and they told us to turn the TV and sadly my students and I watched the second plane crash live,” says English teacher Omari Daniel. “It was hard to process what we saw and what was going on. Then the Pentagon info came in and students began trying to call parents who work in D.C. but no one could get through.”

It is essential that we remember the sacrifices and lives that were lost on September 11th, 2001. They will not be forgotten.