I’m sure most of us remember where we were 10 years ago today. I was teaching in Potomac, Maryland and had gone into the teachers’ lounge during my free period to get some work done. The first reports of the towers being hit were just being heard, and someone had dragged a grainy T.V. into the lounge. When I heard that planes had flown into the World Trade Center, my first insanely naïve thought was, wow – where do they steal empty planes from? How did they get planes off the ground without anyone noticing? It had never in my wildest dreams crossed my mind that 19 terrorists had hijacked planes full of people to use as missiles.
One of the women in the teachers’ lounge was panicking. Her daughter’s fiancé worked at the World Trade Center. I reassured her that he was certainly late for work that day and that he couldn’t possibly have been in the midst of all of this.
Inaccuracies, of course, I would only learn later.
We continued to receive more information during the morning, but my surprisingly poorly managed school didn’t offer us any guidance about how to deal with the students. This was before the age when every kid had an internet-enabled device on his lap, and I taught my third period class without saying a word to them. Living right outside of Washington, D.C. in an area filled with diplomats, congressman and the like, I was sure that some of these children would be deeply and personally affected.
And then fourth period rolled around and there was no longer any way to keep the secret. While holding back tears, I told the students what was going on, and tried to reassure them that their parents couldn’t possibly have been at the Pentagon that morning and that their uncles were probably late to work at the World Trade Center.
Mercifully, in the middle of that class period, they sent the kids home.
I sat down at my desk and cried and cried and cried.
I cried for the terror that had entered our world; for feeling completely exposed and unsafe as a U.S. citizen for the first time; and for the unborn baby that I was carrying that would know such a different reality.
Today, I cry for how unbelievably unresolved all of these issues are. Today, we are battling the same terrorists who are plotting their evil in the same, even more sophisticated, ways.
I live half way around the world now, in a world that is even more attuned to the terror we live with each day. And we watch as the extremists ready their arsenal for the next attack – whether it will be here, in Paris, in Washington D.C. or down the street from you.
We wonder what the governments of the world are doing to stop the insanity.
And when regular citizens will say that it's enough already.
You know, in East Jerusalem they danced in the street when they heard about 9/11. They danced in the streets with glee. They weren't dancing at the killing of Israelis or of Jews - they were dancing at the killing of Americans. And these are our supposed "peace partners"; these are the very people that Obama and America and much of the world are demanding that we sit down and negotiate with - for "peace".
I cry today tears of frustration, wondering when the rest of the world will understand that events like 9/11 are a constant reality for us here in Israel, and that in all corners of the world we do not have to live like this.
And that the way to remember the people who lost their lives on 9/11 is to say that we don't stand for terror - and to make that statement a reality around the world.