Originally created 11/06/01

Tragedy helps unites strangers



When Sept. 11 came, we had no idea it would change our lives forever.

Most Augusta-area teens were more than 500 miles from the attacks, though. Imagine if you were within 100 miles. Imagine the thoughts that would have run through your head if you were that close.

Are we far enough away? Will something like that happen here? Are the people I know who work in Washington, D.C., and New York safe?

I woke up at 4 a.m. on Sept. 11. I was in Williamsburg, Va., on a school trip with 30 classmates. Williamsburg is within 100 miles of the Pentagon.

When we got on the bus, we fell asleep right away. We had been up at about 5 every morning, so sleeping in was a godsend. At about 7 a.m., we stopped for breakfast at a Virginia truck stop, and then I fell asleep again.

I woke up about two hours later. It was about the time we got the news that airplanes had hit the two World Trade Center buildings. Most of the girls in my class were crying. Almost everyone on our bus was in shock. I wasn't. I can't tell you why, but I wasn't.

About 30 minutes later, our headmaster, John Hammond, told us that a plane had hit the Pentagon. That was when I understood what was happening.

My uncle, Joe Spires, works for the Internal Revenue Service in Washington. At the time, I had no idea where the IRS building was. When bad things happen, we tend to think the worst. I thought the building was somewhere near the Pentagon. So I was scared for my uncle. He's a great uncle, and losing him would be hard.

We stopped for lunch in South Carolina. We all held hands in a circle and started to pray. Then something I think is pretty cool happened.

As we were standing there, people from the rest stop - most of them from other ethnic backgrounds - stopped what they were doing and came to our circle and prayed with us. About seven or eight people came and prayed with us.

It proved to me that when times are rocky, race really doesn't exist. We were all Americans in that circle, and the color of our skin didn't matter.

I hope that feeling will stay with us beyond this tragedy. Only God knows if it will. That's one of the positive things that could come out of this. All I know is, it's about time.

Tyler Moore, 15, is a sophomore at Briarwood Academy.,