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September Eleventh


Elaine Hughes

It was a normal day at Athens Area High School. As I meandered down the hall, I brooded about an upcoming science test. Passing by the home economics room, I could smell chocolate fudge. " I hope they left some for me," I thought with a smile.

As I headed upstairs, my ears were greeted with a mix of interesting comments.

"We're all going to die!"

"I saw it on the news."

"They're evacuating the White House."

"A plane hit the World Trade Center."

"It's the end of the world!"

I just shook my head and kept walking. They were probably just joking anyhow. In the hallways, it's easy to misinterpret other people's conversations.

When I got to my class, the teacher had already turned on CNN , and my eyes were lost in a sea of frenzy. 

"Attack on America! A plane hit the Pentagon! Explosion at the Capitol building! Fire on the National Mall! Muslim terrorists! War!"

The entire class watched in awe as the image of the second plane hitting the Twin Towers was shown to us for the first time. I couldn't believe for a second that it was unintentional. 

Several worried Congressman were interviewed by hounding reporters.

"They asked us to evacuate, and then we thought we heard an explosion," one man said.

Today, I can picture a ton of frazzled politicians trying to evacuate, and then, some lowly assistant drops a stapler on the way out the door. Oh, I'm sure that was a sight indeed!

Then, there was George Walker Bush.

"We will not tolerate terrorism!" he said.

At the same moment, the second plane hit the other tower, but we sure won't tolerate it. 

By the end of the day, I was tired of seeing the same images, hearing politicians preach, and listening to bewildered journalists. When I went home that night, I wanted to relax and watch my favorite television programs, but I ran into problems there. The news was on almost every single channel, including MTV and PBS. 

That night, my mom went to a viewing. A man told how his son had walked down seventy-one flights of stairs and helped carry a woman on crutches.

"He was very lucky," my mom said.

"What's the date today anyway?" I asked.

"September 11. Why?"

"Just wondering. Might need to know it some day."

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