Dear France.

Effiel Tower

I was switching from Homeroom to my Advanced U.S. History class when I saw it. I walked into my class and saw my teacher staring at her television, her hand to her mouth, face filled with horror. We were only two weeks into classes for the year, and all I knew about this teacher was that she was a former attorney, tough as nails and seemed unbreakable. The morning of September 11th, 2001… she broke. One by one, students filed into the classroom and gathered around the TV and we watched the World Trade Centers as they became a fiery inferno. My teacher, with tears in her eyes, turned it off and feebly attempted to teach a classroom full of confused and worried Juniors. Throughout the day we moved through classes somewhat like robots. Some teachers had their TVs on, some didn’t. We got bits and pieces here and there- a plane hit the Pentagon and another went down in a field in Pennsylvania. It wasn’t until I got home that day that I saw how truly devastating the terror attacks on our country were. For hours on end, days and days in a row, we watched the news. Watched the planes hit over and over. I remember screaming when I saw people jumping from the top of the towers to their death. First responders going straight in, terrified people running out. The towers toppling and the cloud of dust and debris billowing like a mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb.

Everyone in France, and particularly those in Paris, will forever remember where they were tonight. Terrorists have struck again, and absolutely devastated their city and country. Family members are frantically calling and trying to get a hold of their loved ones; cell towers are tied up and it’s unbearable pain not knowing. First responders rushing in, the terrified and wounded running out. People who went out to eat, to a show, to a soccer match… just enjoying a typical Friday evening out… and their lives are forever changed. There are children whose parents hired a babysitter to go see a concert. Those children will never see their parents again. Those who survived the attacks will never unsee what they witnessed, they will never unhear those sounds. The gunshots, the bombs detonating, the screams. They will never forget this night.

France… America is praying for you. We have been there. We are grieving with you. Dear France… You are struck down, but not destroyed. You will prevail. You will find unity and strength you didn’t know you had. Your resolve to defend your country will reach new heights, new depths. We are so, so sorry for all you have lost. We pray God brings swift justice to those responsible. God bless you.

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