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Home Room

1st period. Right after, my class would go to Biology. I did alright in Biology. But that’s not the point. I wasn’t in Bio yet.

At 7:46 a.m., Central Standard Time, on September 11th, 2001, I was arriving at school.

At 8:03 a.m., I was in Home Room.

My teacher had been called out of the room. We really only became concerned when we noticed she had been out of the room for a pretty long period of time.

When she came back, she was very emotional. She was an emotional person anyway. It didn’t take much for her to get misty eyed. But this was different.

She explained that two planes had flown into the World Trade Center in New York City, and we were about to have a school-wide assembly about it.

On the way to the assembly, somebody explained that these weren’t little private planes that had crashed by accident. These were passenger planes.

That’s the moment the truth started to sink in.

The assembly answered our questions. Yes, it was an attack. Yes, there were a lot of casualties. No, we didn’t know why it happened.

Being a Christian school, we were able to all say a word of prayer. We needed to pray, as none of us really understood what was happening.

I’m thankful for that.

Within an hour, I was in a car listening to the radio. By this point, the towers were starting to fall. The people on the radio had nothing to say. Neither did I. I could only imagine those iconic Twin Towers in my head, and the fact that they wouldn’t be there any more.

That was the moment the truth started to sit heavy.

Within thirty minutes, I was home. The television was on, but the images didn’t make sense. They were replaying footage of the collisions.There was one tower still standing. Burning.  Everyone knew it was a matter of time before it came down. But that doesn’t mean anyone was prepared for when it actually did.

That was the moment the truth finally hit.

Life changed.

In the ten years since, I’ve finished high school. I’ve finished college. I’ve had good times. I’ve had the worst times of my life.

And I’ve had friends, teachers, and relatives serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

My best friend on that day ten years ago served twice. When he first got back, he slept with a gun by his bed. It had become normal.

On September 11, 2001, at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Time, I was arriving at school. When it was 9:03 a.m. in New York City, I was in Home Room.

Where were you?

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About The Joseph Craven

I'm tall, but not so tall that people point and stare.

2 responses to “Home Room”

  1. Brynn says :

    This gave me chills.

    I was only 12 years old. I was in California, so it was a little bit before 7am. I was eating breakfast with my little brother while my mom dropped my older brother off at his bus stop. My dad called and told me to turn on the news. The only thing I remember him saying is that planes hit a tower in New York and he thinks we are under attack. I remember thinking it looked more like an accident. At such a young age, I knew it was a big deal, but I couldn’t grasp the enormity of the situation. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I cried about it.

    Thanks for this post.

    • The Joseph Craven says :

      Ah HA! I just made you inadvertently mention your age! This is something that, best I understand, ladies are forbidden from doing.

      But back to seriousness: Yeah, I think if I hadn’t been watching the television that morning, I would’ve missed a lot of how huge this moment was. I don’t really remember much else about that day, because pretty much once I found a TV, I was done. Nothing really made sense anymore.

      My experience with Hurricane Katrina was similar to what you just described. I was in my dorm at college in central Mississippi when the storm destroyed the coast. Power went out, so we were passing the time by chilling in the lobby, singing songs obnoxiously (I went to a strange school) and watching Braveheart on a laptop.

      In the morning, we went around the neighborhood, helping out residents by cleaning up debris. Trees were down, power lines were down….it was just strange that a storm could have that much power 160 miles away from the ocean. But it took time before I realized exactly how extreme the damage was.

      Even then, it took a few trips down to the coast for it to really become real to me. It was weird seeing all the places that I grew up visiting whenever my family wanted to go to the beach, but now with nothing there. As strange as it sounds, when I found the spot where a putt-putt golf course used to be is when it finally hit me, haha. I just remembered that place so fondly, and it was completely gone.

      I think I rambled just a bit. I apologize. But thanks a lot for reading and commenting!

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