I had just started a new job as a live-in counselor at a boarding school. In fact, the entire counseling staff had turned over that year, and we were all on the job about three weeks, four of us with 127 high school juniors and seniors.
I slept in that morning, and when I got up, I stepped out of my apartment onto the dorm hallway. One of my students was crying on the hallway phone. “I need to check on him when he gets off the phone. Maybe a death in the family,” I thought. I then noticed I could hear the TV in the dorm lounge, which was on the opposite side of the hall. Way too loud for that time of the morning.
I walked into the lounge and told the students to turn it down, and they looked at me like I was nuts. It was then that I first saw the footage and heard the broadcast. A few minutes later was the live footage of the second plane hitting the tower.
Classes were immediately cancelled for the day, and they put together an assembly for all the students to hear from the administration. As a child of the Cold War, I had to put aside any fears I had of World War III and focus on projecting an air of calm. I also had to do this with two of our other counselors, as they were both in their first counseling jobs, whereas both I and the fourth counselor had more experience.
The most memorable aspect of the day, though was that several students grabbed musical instruments and met in the dorm lobby, where we sang peace songs for the next couple hours. It was then that I finally relaxed and felt that we were going to be all right.