Saturday, September 10, 2011


I remember exactly where I was on 9/11/2001. I was in the hallway at De Queen Primary School, headed to get students from the Kindergarten for reading. Mrs. Dykes, our assistant principal came down the hall and asked if we knew that the World Trade Center had been hit. The other reading teachers and I were completely unaware of what had happened and were shocked to find what was going on in New York City. Later on we found out that a second plane had hit the other tower and at that point I realized that this was no accident and for the first time in my life my country was under attack. I was shocked and wanted to stop teaching and just watch the events unfold. Hoping that is some way I could make sense of it all.

I remember watching the remaining events unfold on TV. Someone set a TV up in the teacher’s lounges and I spent any extra minute just standing there watching the TV. Feeling like it was all so unreal, so hard to believe, so horrible to watch. Praying that the people in those towers were able to get out, knowing in my heart that they didn’t. I was trying to understand the amount of evil that would cause a person to put such an awful plan into motion. Wondering what it was that my country had done to these people to make them retaliate in such a manner.

I remember hearing and seeing the footage of the plane hitting the Pentagon and of Flight 93’s heroism. I felt raw and numb that it had happened again, then again. Wondering if it would happen somewhere else and if so who would be the target.
I remember watching footage of President Bush. I saw him being told about the attacks and how well he maintained his composure in front of the students in that Florida classroom. Feeling proud of my president and worried about his safety as he wanted desperately to get back to Washington. Instead he was flown all over the country in Air Force One in an attempt to keep him safe. Feeling proud that he landed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana for a just a little bit. I felt a little safer knowing he was very close to where I was.

I remember the lines that afternoon to get gas. It was something I had not thought of, but as I drove by the gas stations there were lines of people getting gas which was shocking to see. Nothing like this had ever happened here. When Jess got home he told me that he had waited in line a long time to get gas and was a little upset with me because I hadn’t had the forethought to stop and get some myself. He was afraid of gas prices going up even more than the dollar they had already risen and being uncertain about the availability in the near future.

I remember watching it all unfold again that evening. Jess and I just sat and watched the news footage of the day and spoke very little. I finally broke down and cried. It was just too much to watch and to know that these ordinary, average people were just going about their daily lives and were so tragically taken. Knowing that there was still a lot of uncertainty about what had actually happened and who had caused it.

I remember the days that followed. Still so much fear and uncertainty about how many people were lost. The amazing hero stories that began to come out and feeling proud to be an American because of the sacrifices that these people had made to try to save others. Seeing President Bush’s incredible speech at Ground Zero and feeling hope because of it.

I remember realizing that more lives would be lost because we were headed to war. The feeling of pride for my country and uncertainty of what the future would hold. Wondering if it was really safe to bring children into this world and how sad I felt, because I knew I wanted to have children.

I remember having to just turn it all off. It had begun to consume me, the constant TV footage of the attacks, the faces of the hijackers, the faces of the families of the missing and their pleas to find their family members, the remarkable stories of survival and loss. It all became too much to bear. I realized that I was allowing it to keep me rooted in one spot as a spectator and that I needed to get up and just live again. Not to be stuck in this moment forever. I also realized in those moments that I had just been a part of history, much like my grandparent's Pearl Harbor and the assassination of President Kennedy in my parent’s generation. Knowing that the generations before had experienced their own moments of shock and uncertainty. Knowing that they came through those moments stronger people and part of a stronger country. Taking comfort in the fact that I knew that the same would occur in my generation and praying that future generations would not ever have to live through something so tragic.

I will always remember. Ten years later that day still stands out in my mind, especially around the anniversary each year. I always stop to watch and in my own way honor the day and those lives lost. It is sometimes still difficult to watch, but for me it reemphasizes how incredible my country is and how proud and appreciative I am of those who serve America on a daily basis. I want my children to understand and appreciate 9/11 and I know they will not ever completely understand the day as much as those who lived it, but I want them to know about the people who lives were lost, the courage of the rescue workers, the courage of the heroes on flight 93, the courage and heroism of ordinary people. Because in those moments of 9/11 you see the true spirit of who we as Americans are supposed to be. I want my children to have that spirit and strength within themselves and the pride of being an American.

I will never forget. God Bless my beautiful America.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How about a little randomness..

So I have random stuff just bouncing around in my brain. Thought maybe a blog post would put it into better perspective and possibly shape it into a scrapbook layout or two.
BTW some of these photos were taken using my new smart phone...WooHoo upgrade, now if we can just upgrade the user. She is a bit slow with the touch screen and frustrates easily. She also now has a twitter account. You can follow her randomness there too @oliviasmartin
Here are just a few of my random thoughts and actions this week:

1. I am LOVING this cooler weather. The weather guy says it won't last, but for now I am enjoying every cool, breezy minute of it!

2. The boys played their first fall baseball game Tuesday night and they both hit the ball. Carter hit really well of course...but Ethan, who is 5 and is playing on his big brother's 7 & 8 year old team, hit for the first time...We were so super excited for him. He made it to first, stole second, and then Carter was up as our lead off batter and hit well enough for E to make it to third. The next batter got Ethan in on an RBI. It was so fun to see him score and to grin so big because he hit and scored. The look on his face was priceless. Carter said later that he was more excited when Ethan hit and scored than he was when he hit...Awww such compassionate little guys! I am so proud of both of them.

3. I made this Chocolate Sheet Cake for a family dinner Monday night. The recipe is my Mammaw's and it is incredible. I may or may not have eaten a big piece for supper Tuesday night. With a big glass of milk. But we aren't going to talk about that.

4. I have a weird fascination with VERY sharp pencil leads. This is a new thing and I'm not sure where it came from. In the past I have used mechanical pencils quite a bit, but now I have lots of regular pencils in the library and I always seem to have one in my hand or behind my ear. Weird... I know. My favorite #2 lead pencil is the Ticonderoga..You know just in case you are out shopping for me.

5. Carter wore socks to school Wednesday. This is nothing new he does wear socks everyday, but here lately socks have gone missing. Not just one or two, but lots!!!! I have no idea where they are at, but both boys are having a sock loss problem. Wednesday I know that one of Carter's socks was clean, but the cleanliness of the second sock is questionable. It didn't look dirty, it wasn't straight out of the dryer, and I refused to sniff it. I would have shared a picture, but...well... all the socks are missing. Grrr.

6. I have been playing with pretty paper lately. I came across some older pictures of Carter and my niece when they were babies (2004) and I knew that August's Cocoa Daisy kit would be perfect for this layout. It is completely sold out, but there is an add on left: Athena is a steal at $18.50 plus s/h. The banner was made using this exclusive banner stamp from Cocoa Daisy. It is still available in the store. I really love it, lots of versatile uses.

I hope your weekend is wonderful!