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9/11 Tragedy

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I watched from the window of our family car as my mom entered the World Trade Center. It wasn’t like this was the first time I saw the site; my dad and I always drove by there, every single morning, to drop my mom off at work. I couldn’t explain why, but I just felt a little odd about the day as I watched my mother being engulfed by the smooth, shiny building. I shook it off. You ate way too much chocolate yesterday! I told myself. Then the car rumbled and my dad and I pulled through the traffic, both of us hoping I wouldn’t be late for school. I was in first grade for only a few days and it wouldn’t be very good if I was late already.

From behind the wheel, my dad said what he said every morning since I first went to school: “Are you excited to go to school today, Katie?”

“Sure I am, Dad! I can’t wait to see what Mrs. Zigmont will do today!” I said, and told my dad all about the funniest teacher in our whole school, the one that also looked like a huge toad. As I prattled on about everything that happened the past few days, I saw my dad stretch his lips into a smile. We kept driving through the traffic and got to the school right on time. I hopped out of the car, hugged my dad goodbye, and grabbed my backpack. I joined my friends and chatted with them about Mrs. Zigmont as we rushed to the school.

The day went on completely normally. We had language arts and science. And then, in the middle of math, just when I was finally understanding how to add numbers that were bigger than ten, a knock at the door sounded and wiped the thoughts straight from my mind. I turned to see who it was, annoyed, but all I saw was Mrs. Zigmont shuffling to the door, which was opened just the smallest crack, with a hand sticking out from the crack, holding a piece of paper. I was aware of every other head in the classroom turned in the door’s direction. The crack disappeared, but Mrs. Zigmont still stood in the exact same spot as she was in when she got the note. She clutched the note so hard that her knuckles turned white and I thought her fingernails must have been digging very deep into her palms. Her green eyes became so large that I thought her eyes would surely pop out of her eye sockets any second now, and her toad-resembling face became wrinkled and then turned a very bright, unnatural shade of red. Her thick, brown hair hung down as she dipped her head even lower to read the note. A horrible sense dread crept into my heart. I felt a little bit dizzy and I realized I had been holding my breath. Now I was truly scared and my stomach lurched and flopped around inside of me. Whispers sounded throughout the room, and when she turned around to face us, Mrs. Zigmont’s eyes were red and puffy and tears pooled in them.

“Kids, your parents have already been called and they’re coming to get you. A lot of you know the World Trade Center, right? Well, I think you should find out now, before you get really confused and jump to the wrong conclusion because you don’t know why your parents are picking you up so early. Today, at 8:46 an airplane crashed into the top of the World Trade Center, and the building is crashing. The firefighters evacuated as many people as they could, but there were many that died who were on the top floors,” the tears in Mrs. Zigmont’s spilled over and streamed down her cheeks.

The rest of the day was a strange, surreal haze. And then, when we were finally dismissed, everything was alright again. Because when our car pulled at the front of the school to take me home, two people stepped out: My dad… and my mom. I breathed a long sigh of relief as I forward, my backpack heavy on my back, slowing me down. I almost tripped over my own shoes as I ran.

“Mom! You’re okay!” I shouted and a grin broke over my face, stretching as far as my lips could go. I wrapped my skinny arms around my mother’s waist, and she pressed me close to her, holding my head in her arms. I could hear her heart still racing from the terror of the crash.

As we got home, we found out there was another airplane crash into the building next to the WTC. After that there was an airplane crash into the Pentagon and another that crashed in the state of Pennsylvania. When I just found out about the second crash, I thought, Is someone trying to start a war with the U.S.? And then I thought, My family will probably be safe, Dad just said that we live far enough that we shouldn’t get hurt if there are attacks in the city. Besides, the army and National Guard are already alerted. So we’re all safe enough. Maybe we won’t have school! As I told myself all those things, I knew I was only trying to calm myself down. Because I was truly scared. I knew that I would not ever forget the fear that beat in my heart and the cold claws of dread sinking into my stomach. I knew that I would never forget this date, 9/11/01. And after I found out how many people died in the attacks, I knew I would never forget the respect we all felt for them.





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This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

gymbabe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 28, 2010 at 4:26 pm
This is a great piece of work, very well-described, very suspenseful.  I hardly remember that day, I was only in preschool.  I just remember that my sister came home early and my mom was very, very scared.
 
citydancer94 said...
May 15, 2010 at 6:56 pm

This is a very well written story. i remember 9/11. we sat around in the living room watching the replays of the world trade center burning. i remember being confused and scared. were we safe?

i really like it! please check out some of my stuff!!!

 
Laughternchoclate said...
Apr. 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Thank God her Mom is okay... it makes me like super sad when a family member dies, even when it's a story

Thanks for the happy ending :)

 
writergirl13 replied...
Apr. 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm
lol. it's weird, but i'm getting the most coments on this piece, yet most of my other pieces are better in my opinion.
 
Nicovera replied...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm
It's probably the most replied to because of the impact this event had on the nation. It was well-written and suspenseful--that's a factor, too. Keep writing; good articles like this are hard to come by, especially if they're about a real event.
 
writergirl13 replied...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 7:47 pm
Thanks! That really means a lot to me! :)
 
caitlingrant said...
Apr. 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm
I really like this piece--it's concise and conveys emotion well. I think, though, that maybe you could try and make the fear the girl is feeling more real as she hears the news--tell us a little bit about her reaction. Other than that, I find that this writing is really very good :D And thanks for the comment!
 
writergirl13 replied...
Apr. 2, 2010 at 5:09 pm
Thanks! I always appreciate feedback and constructive criticism for peers, I think it helps to improve my writing!
 
elfiewrites said...
Mar. 31, 2010 at 5:50 am

This is excellent; very very well written! I, also, wrote a story about 9-11. If you get the chance, may you please comment on it? Thanks so much

 

 
writergirl13 replied...
Mar. 31, 2010 at 8:39 am
I was on a roll with uploading pieces and stories, so I uploaded this one as well, although now I'm not sure why anymore. :) :) But it's nice to know someone liked it! :)
 
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