Five years ago, I was student teaching.

Five years ago, I walked into school — around 7:30 — and heard my neighboring teacher, a wonderful woman who taught life science in a way that nearly made me jealous, talking about what she had heard on the radio. A plane had flown into the World Trade Center.

I was 22. I had been through countless history classes. I had struggled through current event papers. But I had little idea what the World Trade Center represented. And I had little understanding as to what was unfolding.

We turned the television on. Another plane crashed. Students started filing in, and we turned it off. There was a lot to explain, and I didn’t know how to do it. I was just starting my new year — my new career, really — and unanswerable questions were being forced my way.

I remember thinking that this is what the United States gets for meddling in other countries’ affairs. I remember thinking that all of this was a little too much. I hadn’t realized the sheer number of deaths that I was witnessing. I couldn’t put it into perspective. But I did know that the killing was senseless, and that it was as a result of our country’s policies and a world-wide hatred of the United States.

Later, I talked to Kerrie on the phone. She was scared. I was scared. We all were. I watched our President make the most important speech of his life. Of this country’s life.

Since then, many of us have gone back to the skeptical feelings we had when Bush stepped into office. We are fighting a war that is dragging young men and women into their graves. We are still throwing policies out that cripple our standing and strengthen our image as “The World’s Most Crooked Cop.”

But for a few days in September, 2001, we were all scared. We didn’t know what was going on.

What were you doing five years ago?

This was lovingly handwritten on September 11th, 2006