A Teacher Remembers Heroes and Widows of 9/11


Thomasine Bianchi in the classroom with daughters Natalie and Hailey

Fifteen years ago. Pregnant with my Natalie. Teaching first period – 6th grade math. The secretary ran to my room, encouraging me to turn on the TV – a commercial flight had crashed into a skyscraper in NYC. Because I also taught current events, she mentioned, “It’s a great current events story.”

I stop teaching – the kids on the edge of their seats because their teacher stopped talking ratios and integers – and turned on the news.

As an adult, I quickly realized what we were watching was a replay of a SECOND plane crashing into another building in Manhattan. This teachable moment suddenly turned into much more. We quickly shut off the TV to shield the kids from whatever terror was occurring. 

Early dismissal. Glued to the TV. Two more planes. Pentagon. Shanksville. Heroes and widows made that day.

And the silence. The silence was deafening. Grounded planes. Watching the TV, holding my breath, wondering what would happen next. And what business did I have bringing a child into a world where such evil exists.

But then… The most amazing thing happened. A nation of races, and religions, and cultures came together. AN ENTIRE NATION. We were UNDIVIDED. Flags waved. People stood proudly for anthems. We held our heads high as Americans. Being an American had never meant more.



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