The date that is more than just another space on the calendar. September 11th, 2001 is recognized on nearly every continent. On 9/11, every citizen of the United States is called to remember those who died in the deadly terror attacks on the World Trade Center. This year, incoming freshmen were not even born yet when these events occurred, and many high school students were far too young to recall anything from that day. As Americans remember those who are gone, the staff here at MC can’t help but remember what they were doing on this day, 15 years ago.
Patricia Brooks, a math teacher here at MC, recalls how her morning played out very easily.
“I was working part time here at Mt. Carmel and before school, I was about to take my three year-old to preschool when my husband said, ‘turn on the news because something’s happening,’” Brooks said. “It seemed almost surreal.”
Like many other parents, in the face of such a tragedy, kids were held a little bit closer.
“I didn’t take my kid to preschool,” Brooks said.
Even though she was safe here on the West Coast, like so many others, Brooks knew someone back in New York.
“I had a friend who was supposed to be at the World Trade Center at the time, but he’s always late, thankfully, because he was driving when everything happened so he survived,” Brooks said.
Even though Brooks knew no one personally who died, this date is no easier for her.
“I’m okay now but it brings back memories,” Brooks said. “It changed everything.”
Deborah Stenger, MC’s expert chemist, found herself in a very similar situation.
“I didn’t have the news or the radio on that morning so I didn’t know until I got to Mt Carmel that anything was happening,” Stenger said. “I was just setting up my classroom when one of the other teachers came in and he was crying. He told me, ‘Turn on the news, turn on your TV’ and it was of course on every channel.”
But even after watching the news, the day couldn’t pause.
“It was a really tough day because we had to go on business as usual even though we knew people were dying and it felt like we were under attack,” Stenger said.
Mr. Ray, one of MC’s custodians, was getting ready for a contracting job when he heard the news.
“I was watching the news that morning, getting ready to go to work,” Ray said. “I was working on a project as a tile contractor at the time. The news came on and one of the planes had already hit the tower. It felt like a movie.”
But even 15 years later, scenes from that day remain fresh in Ray’s mind.
“It was horrifying,” Ray said. “Images of people running from all the dust clouds through New York streets. It’s one of the things that’s always in your mind.”
To Colin Young, one of MC’s assistant principals, 15 years after feels like a mere 15 days.
“I remember 9/11 very well,” Young said. “I was living with one of my friends from high school; we were going to college and I remember his mom called us really early in the morning and she told us to turn on the TV. We actually watched the tower come down live. I just remember sitting there in complete shock.”
Young spent the rest of the day like many others, unable to tear their eyes off the news.
“I was laying there in disbelief and just watched the news all day,” Young said.
While the 11th is the day most remembered, Young can recount those day that followed.
“I remember how our country came together,” Young said. “You saw flags hanging down all of the bridges and over the freeway.”
On this day, often the focus is on all the bad parts, and those images will live on forever, but to Young images of hope are associated with September 11th as well.
“Such a tragedy brought our huge country of 300 something million closer together than I think we have ever been, certainly in my lifetime,” Young said.