September 11, 2001 started out as just a normal day:
“Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance kiddos!” Mrs. Holiday announced as she did every morning.
“I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America….” We are still learning the pledge; I am in Kindergarten.
The words are on a poster board that hangs on the wall. She goes over each word and says it out loud with us this morning, as she does every morning.
Mrs. Holliday returns to reality for just a short moment to realize that with all this chaos going on she still has 20 small children in a classroom. She sits us down on our reading carpet. We don’t give her any trouble this time; we do what we are told. We see the fear in her eyes. She tries to explain that it is very important that we stay quiet and do whatever she says today. Mrs. Holliday explains that there are some very bad people in the world that want to hurt us, and it is her job to keep us safe. We see tears begin to roll down her face.
“Mrs. Holliday, what’s wrong?” Sara asks.
Mrs. Holliday tries to smile and that seems to just push even more tears out of her eyes. “I’m scared” she replied.
“We are all safe if we stick together and do what you say, right?”
This seems to help Mrs. Holliday stop crying for just a moment. “Yes, dear. You are right, we have to stick together.”
I would be lying if I told you I remembered everything that happened that day; I was only 5 years old. I can only remember the fear in Mrs. Holliday’s eyes and the panic in my mom’s voice when she picked me up from school that day. But what I do remember is how my country came together in that time of need. How we became one to support each other because that’s all we could do. As I reflect on where we are as a country now, remembering 9/11 fifteen years later I can’t help but think the same thing. Right now more than ever, it is time we come together as one rather than be divided. Sara reminded Mrs. Holliday that morning that it was important that we all stick together, and now I am reminding all of you.