The Day America Stood
Still and Remembered God
by LaVelle & Sally Jo Pitts
“A plane crashed into a building in
New York City,” I heard someone say when they entered the guidance office at Bay High School. I was handling student appointments regarding class concerns during the
normal course of morning activities.
Because the main building was being
renovated, guidance and administration were temporarily housed in two trailers. One of the guidance counselors went to the administrator’s trailer to
find out more. When she returned, the news had changed from
something unusual happening to a report that carried a tone of serious alarm.
Another plane had struck the World
Trade Center in New York City. It appeared our country was under
some kind of attack. It was unclear as to why and
the extent. Word came again that a plane hit the
Pentagon. Concern heightened.
I had a meeting in the Special
Education teacher workroom. A TV was on and that is where I first saw the incredible sight on screen of the
planes flying straight into the buildings and exploding. We were
glued to the images and listened to the newscasters’ comments as the tragedy unfolded. We watched as the first building collapsed sending out huge billowing
clouds of smoke and debris from the vantage point of the television cameras in the streets of
Manhattan. Then the second building
Hearts turned to loved
ones. Parents called and administration allowed students to be
checked out. One panicked parent freaked out, rammed into an
employee’s car, couldn’t get out, so jumped the curb and drove onto campus careening down the sidewalk and
out onto Harrison Avenue. Trying to insure her daughter’s safety, she jeopardized the safety of
Steve Bornhoft, former News Herald
editor and mentor to one of my students, called to see if he should still come for his regularly scheduled
meeting. I felt it would be good for him to be with his student
during this unsettled time. He came and we listened in silence
to the radio in my office to reports as they came in while he waited for his student to arrive. Word came that a plane meant to hit the White House crashed in
Pennsylvania when heroic passengers overpowered the hijackers.
It was a day of disbelief that
brought us personally and nationally to a time of reflection.
Marquees across the nation bore the words, “God Bless America.” People wore ribbons of red white and blue
with renewed pride in country. There was a desire to be close to
family and our spiritual roots, as churches were filled after this momentous day.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt said after
the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, this is “a date which will live in infamy,” this date,
September 11, 2001, will remain an infamous date in our nation’s history.