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Where Were You?

I was walking from first hour to second hour at my high school and heard someone in the halls say something about a plane hitting the Pentagon. I had just overheard it and didn't hear the context so I didn't really think twice about it until I entered my third hour classroom and the TV was on.

On the screen were the images that are all so familiar to us now -- the World Trade Center filled with smoke as chaos ensued in New York.

I remember it was calculus class and our teacher was an old-school, no-nonsense type of guy. I didn't realize the scope of the situation so I found it odd at the time that he was actually delaying the start of class to watch what was unfolding on TV. That didn't seem like his style.

After a few minutes, he turned off the TV and we started talking about calculus but of course none of us could really pay attention as we started to digest what was happening. It was when my mind started drifting away from calculus that I realized something -- my Mom was supposed to be on a flight that day, a flight to D.C.

She was in Paris with a couple of my aunts and at the time I was pretty sure she was flying into Washington D.C., where my aunt lived, for a layover and then heading home. After third hour ended, I went down to the Dean's office and asked the secretary if I could use the phone (this was before every high schooler had cell phones).

I called up my Dad and asked him what was up with Mom and he said it wasn't her flight. She was a couple hours behind and he had already looked up her flight number. It wasn't her.

My Mom was diverted to Newfoundland and if my memory is correct we didn't get a chance to talk to her until the next day. She was very homesick, I remember, and didn't want to talk about everything that was going on with the terrorist attacks. I remember getting a chance to talk to her only a couple times the entire week.

She was one of the last flights to go back home -- almost seven days in the Newfoundland airport -- and I still remember her coming home that day.

That's my 9/11 story. Where were you?

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