When my high school classmates and I heard about the two planes hitting the twin towers on September 11th 2001, we started talking about how this would be a JFK moment for us. You hear stories growing up, from older people, who remembered exactly where they were when they heard President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.
For us, that Tuesday morning, we were in the hallway bouncing tennis balls.
It was a music theory class, and we were using this tennis ball exercise to illustrate the difference between duple meter and triple meter.
Of course, at that point, it was still too early to know the full impact of what was going on, especially because the only official word we had received from the principal over the intercom was that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center, and that we were to go about our day as usual. So we kept bouncing our tennis balls.
Some students were more shaken by the news than others. Those whose parents worked in New York City were the most distraught. About half the students had cell phones, so there was lots of borrowing and anxious phone calls.
As I went from class to class that day, it was interesting how differently teachers decided to handle the situation. My Anatomy teacher, Mr. Shevalier, started the class by saying how he was planning to give his lesson as usual, in the hopes that it could temporarily take our minds off what was going on. My English teacher, Mr. Dodge, said we wouldn’t be doing anything during the class period, and said it would be free time as long as we didn’t get out of hand.
Dodge had been in the Air Force. I’m sure that impacted how he was processing the news of the day.
It’s odd what your mind decides to remember from a day like that.