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Writer’s Notebook- September 11

September 9, 2012

This week will mark the 11th anniversary of September 11th. I vividly remember teaching 5th grade in a portable building and the principal calling out to my room to tell me what was happening. I remember having to act like nothing was happening but my students noticing that a lot of students were going home early. I remember checking the Internet frequently for updates.

I couldn’t write about the events of that day for a few months. Finally I felt the urge to write. I kept coming back to all of the stories that were being told by loved ones. When I reread the poem I’m sharing there are things I would change (and I always can). But I’ll share it in it’s original published form.

My students weren’t even born yet and are very young to understand the complicated themes threaded through this event. So I probably wouldn’t share this poem with them. I’ll probably share it with my fellow teachers at school.

What does this day make you think about? Listen to your heart and head in the next few days and try to record it in your writer’s notebook. Even if it isn’t writing you would share with your students it is informing you about being a writer.


Ordinary life
Was being played out
On a Tuesday morning.

In an instant
Countless hearts were broken
And even more tears cried
As news quickly spread
And images were played
Again and again
Confirming that unthinkable terror
Had reached our shores
Bringing some life stories
To an end
And changing the course
Of others.

Every person lost
Has an amazing story,
Had a future planned
With friends and family
Who are now
Left with nothing to hold but memories
Of gentle smiles,
Quirky laughs,
And warm hearts.

Numerous stories of heroism
Will go untold.
In their place
Many stories of remembering-
Births, marriages, birthdays
Are being told.

Never will it be known
The fear they felt,
The courage they mustered,
And the dread that must have followed
As they realized
Their destiny
Was no longer
In their hands.

All can take solace
In knowing
That their loved ones
We’re not alone.
They had heroes’
Hands to hold
And thoughts
Of those they loved
In their hearts.


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