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I was a first year teacher and 9/11 was the 5th day of school. I worked in a school district in Northeast NJ where many students' parents worked in the city. It was chaos. Students lined up in the hallways to get to the payphone (yes, payphone) to try to get in touch with their parents. Everyone else was huddled around radios or TVs trying to sift through all the reports coming in, not knowing what was true and what was not.

Over the next decade or so there wasn't a year that went by that I didn't have at least one student who had lost a parent or relative on that day. It was an omnipresent fact I had to keep in the back of my mind so as not to say something that might trigger the terrible memory of that day.

It's hard to believe it was 20 years ago. Those memories are as fresh as yesterday's

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