Norka M. Freyre Garcia
The fear on the children's faces, the concern etched on the teachers' faces. All day long we heard the sound of sirens, fire engines, patrol cars and ambulances, along with the announcements over the public address system of the names of the children lucky enough to be going home with their anxious parents.
How do you tell the little ones? They knew something was wrong. They knew their classmates were going home. We hugged them and assured them that we were there for them. We kept them busy (with) math and writing and singing. It was well past dismissal time but we were not to leave the building until each child was picked up. With only one child left, an 8th grader, and no way for her mother to reach us, I volunteered to drive her home.
That brutal act of terrorism accomplished one thing for us. It made our students grow up. A big shock like that makes you realize how valuable life is and how inconsequential some of the little problems you have are.
What had amazed me was the feeling of kinship among us. Students in one class alone came from all over the world including Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Yemen, Brazil, Guinea, Haiti, China, Taiwan, Trinidad, Ecuador, Guyana, Italy, Spain, Guatemala, Chile, Antigua, Germany and Croatia.
That day we were all united. We stood together because first and foremost we were proud to be Americans!