Teachers Share Their Day on 9/11/01



Aerial photo taken on Sept. 20, 2001 showing the destruction of the World Trade Center.

Marking the 20 year anniversary of 9/11, the horrific terrorist attacks that changed the nation, our Dominion teachers relive their personal accounts of their lives on that day. 

Ms. Menickelly, a Virginia native and former Dominion student, was just eight years old when the attacks occurred. “When I found out, I remember just being incredibly sad, because I understood that 1000s of people had died. I remember just being really taken aback. [My parents] spoke to us about it, they told us the truth, and they took it seriously,” Menickelly said. 

“So it was just like a really somber set of months afterwards. Like, a lot of crying from adults, [even from those] I’d never seen cry before. It [was] kind of hard to return to normal after that, it probably was at least a year,” Menickelly said. 

At the time, Mr. Hicks, history chair, was a teacher at Potomac Falls. While in a work room, Hicks remembers a co-worker running in and saying “A plane just hit the World Trade Center. 

“Everyone had turned on the TV’s in the classrooms, which was just horrendous. I, as a teacher, just tried to remain cool and collected, [and] that’s how we made it and we made sure the kids were okay. If I remember right, the next day, we did not have school. When we got back, you know, it was not business as usual, there was a lot more caring about other people and making sure [everyone] was okay,” Hicks said. 

Now, 20 years later, students at DHS are reminded of the grim day and it’s impact on our country through videos, social media, and from those who experienced the day. 

“I think it’s obviously very important to remember the lives of everyone lost. I think that that number [has gotten] lost across the two decades. I think [for] many, unfortunately, we’ve seen so many tragedies, and all of the students here have grown up involved in the conflict that came from 9/11 and was surrounding 9/11, [that] we have become numb to it. But, all human life has worth, regardless of how long ago they were lost, or regardless of nationality. Like any loss of life is a tragedy,” Menickelly said. 

Mr. Burns, who was in eighth grade at the time, wants students to understand that even though we were not alive to experience the horrid day, that we are still impacted by it. “The fact that terrorism is in your vocabulary is something we should really discuss, [how] we teach see something saying something, the lines in the airport, the random dog sniffing at the metro station. All those are all aspects of your lives that were not very big before 9/11 happened,” he said. 

 “[9/11] is one of the events in US history that brought us closer together as a nation, rather than divided us. It’s important to just learn from those who were impacted by it, [whether they were] in New York or DC, or they lost someone they knew, or they were sitting at home. Because it was only 20 years ago there are still so many people you can learn from. Every student should [take time] to learn more about it,” Burns said.