Remembering 9/11

On the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Trinity community mourns the loss of loved ones and the heroes who gave their lives to protect and serve their country. We also remember with solemn gratitude the servicemen and women who bravely responded to the attacks on our nation. Here are the memories that Trinity staff and faculty shared from that day as we honor our commitment to “never forget.”


“I was in 11th grade, and the second block of the day had just started. When I walked into the classroom, the TV was on CNN, and we saw the second plane hit. It was as though a cloud had descended on the entire school. The rest of the day, teachers and students were on their cell phones in the halls and classrooms constantly trying to contact loved ones who they knew were at the Pentagon. My 8th period AP English teacher started the class saying that we weren't going to do anything until she heard from her husband. Essentially, class was canceled, and we left early.”


I was stationed in Germany, pre-flighting a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter for a mission that night when one of my warrant officer pilots came bounding into the hangar and told me the news. I was stunned. My aviation company was immediately grounded as any aircraft in the air was assumed to be hostile. We transitioned to security operations to protect the many military families scattered across the country who were not living on a secure military post.”

“I was teaching Spanish at a high school in northeastern Vermont on September 11 when we heard that the Twin Towers in NYC had been attacked. I stayed pretty calm and assured my students that we were probably safe because terrorists were unlikely to attack northern Vermont where there just aren’t many people. I remember thinking that this was a day that would be remembered and of my mom’s story about the day President John F. Kennedy died when she was in second grade. She remembers all the details of her class at that time, even what her teacher was wearing that day. I had been married less than two months and my husband was out of state for work, which didn’t worry me until his parents emailed me asking if he was flying that day and if he had landed safely. That worried me for a little while until he confirmed that he was safe. Of course, with transportation restrictions that were quickly put in place, in took an extra week for him to get home.”

“On September 11, 2001, I was living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My American sister-in-law who lived nearby called in the morning telling me to turn on the television, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I spent the day at her house, and all day long, her phone rang as our Argentine friends called. They were reaching out to the only Americans they knew to express their shock and outrage and sorrow and hopes that our families were unharmed.


“I was in fourth grade during the time of the September 11 attacks. I remember my Mama picking me up early from school. Everyone was praying together, crying, hugging one another, and telling each other how much they loved each other. My Mama explained to me what had happened, and I saw the news coverage of the attacks when we got home. America came together that day and stood united as one. I will never forget...


“When the Towers were hit, I was on the phone with area high schools scheduling recruiting visits for the University of Illinois, with Riley (our 3-month-old son) in the same room in his playpen. One of the counselors told me what had happened, and I was watching NBC News when the Pentagon was struck. Dave was in the second week of his job in DC. It was “picture day” for his firm, so he was wearing a suit. He and another colleague who had also just started walked across the Key Bridge to his apartment in Arlington, and he drove Dave home that evening. It took several attempts to reach my parents in Indiana, as the phone lines were tied up, to let them know that we were ok. We had Chinese takeout for dinner. It’s strange the things you remember on a day when the world changes.

“I was in college, had just finished a class, and went to the cafeteria to grab something to eat and study. I had noticed the cafeteria was really quiet, and everyone was gathered at the T.V. screens around the room. I remember walking over to a T.V. nearby, watching the news, and was beyond speechless, feeling numb and shocked at what I was seeing and hearing. Everyone was dismissed to go home. When I got home, my family was calling our relatives in New York to make sure they were safe, and they were. There are just no words to describe the emotions and thoughts of this horrific tragedy.


“I was in first grade and had been staying at my grandmother's house with my family. I came downstairs that morning expecting breakfast like usual, but instead found all the grown-ups huddled around the TV in the living room watching the Twin Towers go up in smoke. They looked afraid. I couldn't fully understand what was happening, but I remember asking my mother “Why do they hate us so much, mom?” and her responding through tear-blurred eyes “I don't know, sweetheart... they just do.”


“I was teaching science at the middle school where I was also the Principal when all the phones started ringing. My assistant came in and told me that planes had hit the World Trade Center.  It seemed like minutes later (although I knew it was longer) that we heard another plane had hit the Pentagon. Five of my students had parents who worked at the Pentagon. Fortunately, we heard from all of those parents by lunch, although it would be hours before they could get to the school to hug their kids. A couple of days later, our kids started working on a quilt that currently hangs in the CIA Museum. Less than six months later, my son’s Marine unit was put on orders for deployment.”

“I was teaching fourth grade at Trinity when the attacks occurred. The school nurse came to tell each teacher what happened. I told students some planes had crashed into buildings in New York and even though that was scary, God was watching over us. I remember praying with students, particularly for their relationship with Jesus to be strengthened. Some parents came to pick up students and bring them home. Not too many people had cell phones, so information wasn't as easily shared. Hours later, I found out my husband was supposed to be at a meeting in the Pentagon at the time of the crash but felt God tugging at him not to go. Thank God I didn't know any of this until after we both got home.”

“I was in Charleston, SC, teaching a senior literature class. We were actually watching a program on TV when it was interrupted by the news footage. We kept the TV on all day, even through classes. Several students were picked up from school because they were military or government families and had loved ones in peril. My sister was trapped in her car on Rt. 50 because of the Pentagon attack. After two hours, she left her car on the side of the road and walked home. I remember the helplessness I felt so far from those in need and the devastating effect of it on every American.

“My husband and I were engaged, and he was in his senior year at the Air Force Academy. When the attacks happened, the Academy immediately went into lockdown. We were not able to see each other for almost a month - a small taste of the deployments to come. Being in the military changed astronomically that day and has remained changed ever since.

“I was in a Bible Study at Truro Church. When our leader got word, she wisely suggested we drop what we were doing and pray. We didn't even know what was really going on. I can still picture the women in a circle and praying.


“On that day, I walked into Providence Presbyterian Church (the former home to the TCS Upper School) and I was met by Ruth Crocker, the admin assistant, with the news of what had happened. I had just dropped off my son at Christ Lutheran Church (former TCS campus) and Truro Episcopal Church (former lower school campus). I immediately left to pick up my children.  Our family just wanted to be together and the uncertainly of what just happened drove us to our knees.


“I was in Kindergarten when the attacks happened on September 11, 2001. My father was supposed to fly out to Memphis that morning, but he picked me up from school later that morning after the second plane hit. I remember seeing the smoke from the plane that hit the Pentagon and smelling the jet fuel outside my house. At 5 years old I didn't quite understand what was going on.”



About Trinity Christian School

Pursuing Excellence for Mind and Heart

K-12 Independent Christian School in Northern Virginia

Located just over 20 miles southwest from Washington, D.C., 10 miles south of Route 66 in Fairfax, and 10 miles west of the Capital Beltway

Educating students to the glory of God by pursuing excellence for mind and heart since 1987



A 2019 National Blue Ribbon School