At 8:50 a.m. on September 11, 2001, second period began. Four minutes earlier, American Airlines Flight 11 had crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. At that moment, however, the students and teachers at my suburban Ohio high school remained blissfully unaware.

On that cool, fall morning my gym class went outside to play tennis. When we came back we heard that an announcement had been made over the loud speakers- two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center, both towers were on fire. Amongst the students, no one even knew what the World Trade Center was, but we sensed by the reaction of the teachers around us that something was very wrong. Minutes later flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. We knew what that was. “Terrorists” murmured through the student body like wildfire.

One student neared panic as she remembered her father was on a business trip in New York City. Without a pause our teacher handed her his phone and she began frantically dialing. Other teachers made half hearted attempts to continue their lessons as a distraction, while parents frantically tried to get in touch with their children.

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