As I Hung My Flag Today…

As I hung my flag today, I said a prayer, like I do every day for our military, policemen and firemen. I pray for their protection and thank God for giving us people who risk their lives for total strangers.

Today, almost two decades later, my heart hurts again remembering and thinking of what happened 18 years ago today.

I will never forget.

I will never forget hearing the news that a plane hit one of the towers. I thought it was an accident.

I will never forget hearing the news that a second plane hit and that it was a terror attack.

I will never forget trying to comprehend what that meant and what I should do with my new 5th graders, bright eyed and innocent.

I will never forget the terror I felt when I heard another plane hit the Pentagon.

I will never forget seeing the people running, covered with dust, fear and disbelief.

I will never forget seeing all of the brave and courageous firemen running into the burning towers.

I will never forget hearing that people were trapped above where the planes hit.

I will never forget hearing about and then seeing the jumpers.

I will never forget seeing the towers fall, feeling weak knowing that people were still in them but knowing I had to stay strong for my students.

I will never forget seeing the Pentagon, a symbol of our mighty military, on fire with people running out.

I will never forget hearing of a plane going down in Pennsylvania.

I will never forget seeing the unbelievable heroism of the firemen, policemen and first-responders we saw evacuating people and trying to get others to safety.

I will never forget crying and feeling a deep pain that I had never felt before or since.

I will never forget the helplessness I felt that day. And the anger.

I will never forget.

I will also never forget the mixed feelings of patriotism in the following days and weeks.

I will never forget the fundraisers, blood drives and carts of food and water we donated to at the grocery stores.

I will never forget the prayer services held for those who died and those who were still missing.

I will never forget.

I will never forget the strength and tremendous leadership shown by President Bush and Mayor Giuliani.

I will never forget hearing the amazing rescue stories and incredible bravery of people saving their coworkers, strangers and friends.

I will never forget hearing the chats of “USA USA USA.”

I will never forget the flags on cars, on doors, on homes, on clothing.

I will never forget that sense of unity we felt after.

I will never forget that day or what it meant to our country.

No one should EVER forget.