I was in middle school, in the 7th grade living in upper Manhattan when 9/11 happened. I remember the school day progressing as normal until about 3rd period when all the teachers started talking amongst themselves in the hallways and then they brung all us kids back to our homerooms. My teacher at the time started to talk to us about life, death, family and things of that nature without ever so much as hinting to us what happened. It wasn’t until after they walked all the classes down to the cafeteria and sat down with their respective students that things started to get uneasy amongst the entire space of kids and adults. Then when they took us back up to the classrooms they told us that some people hijacked planes and flew them into some buildings downtown.
That’s when the entire classroom went silent and a few kids started to cry because they had loved ones that worked in the buildings, I also had a loved one that worked downtown. At the time the spreading of news wasn’t as rapid as it was in places outside of New York which lead to alot of people being unsure of what happened and wheather it was still ongoing. By the end of the day with talking about life and what type of people would commit such a act some of the teachers drove kids that lived far away from the school (a few students that lived in the bronx or in dyckman) back to their homes. For the rest of us that lived within reasonable walking distant was told to walk home as soon as possible and preferably with each other and to avoid all public transportation. Some of the other kids that lived farther than walking distance was drove to their homes by our short schoolbuses which was only used for special needs students so they couldn’t accommondate too many kids at one time.
As for myself I lived only about 10 blocks away from my school so I was one of the kids that lived in walking distance while most of my friends got driven home by teachers or took our school buses. As I walked home I noticed how devoid of life the streets despite the fact usually they were bustling by the time school is over, you could essentially hear a pindrop besides the occasional car that passed by on the street. By the time I got home I asked my mom what happened and even she didn’t know what happned in detail since the lines of communication like the television, radio and our phone wasn’t working. I tried going through channels but all I got was static on every station with the occasional muffled voice amongst the sea of signal noises. The same happened when I went through every radio station both AM and FM butI was relieved when my father got in later that night around 7pm since he was a Schoolbus driver that worked in Brooklyn but he routinely made runs in Manhatten and the Bronx.
When he got home he told me how the roads looked coming from Brooklyn entering Manhattan and how some of the bridges were closed off so he had to use a alternative route to drop some of the kids off to their parents and to get back into Manhattan. I didn’t go to school and my father didn’t go to work until the following week. Our Television, Radio and Phone didn’t fully come back on until about 5 days after that faithful day with CBS being the first channel to have some video and audible service about the details on what happened the day after 9/11. One of my uncles worked as a receptionist in one of the buildings that surrounded the WTC’s and he called in sick the day the planes hit the buildings. I asked him a few years after 9/11 why he didn’t go into work that day and he told me “I don’t know but for some reason I just didn’t feel like going into work that morning”.
I’ve never experienced something so eerie, disconnected and lonely before ever in my life.