School Talks podcast, ep.1: Talking with an Orangewood teacher about 9/11

Hosted by MIA MEDINA and ZNIA SEWARD

Transcript

ZNIA SEWARD: Hey this is Znia.

MIA MEDINA:  This is Mia. 

SEWARD:  We’re school talks with Orangewood High School and we were interviewing Ms.Sachs about the 9/11 and how she felt about it. Enjoy. 

MEDINA:  Okay so we’re just  going to ask you some questions about 9/11. So the first one is What were you feeling at that moment when you found out that the planes crashed? 

SEWARD: As you were watching it .

STEPHANIE SACHS: Disbelief and horror.

Pause 

SEWARD: And if you explain it was everything moving quickly or slow did it feel like it was real? 

SACHS:  It was surreal nothing like that had ever happened and history and truly people could not believe what they were seeing.

MEDINA: Okay and our next question is: At that moment what were you doing like then?

SACHS: I was getting ready, my whole family was getting ready. All my kids had to go to school, so we were watching. We had on a news channel and my one daughter screamed, “Mom come see this,” and then we just stood there transfixed watching.

MEDINA: Okay, so since 9/11 are there some things from that day that have stuck with you forever or anything? 

SACHS: To see the buildings in New York collapse where I had been; to see them turn to dust and see the rubble. I will never forget the look on peoples faces as they were covered in just sut 

from all the ashes.

MIA: Yeah.

SACHS: Never forget that. 

MIA: Was it traumatizing to just kind of sit there and watch it all happening and you have no way of doing anything at that moment?

SACHS: Absolutely. For one thing, we didn’t know what was going on. The first plane hit; we thought it was an accident. Oh my gosh. What happened that a plane could go so far off course? And then when the second building was hit, we realized it was intentional and then we heard that there was another plane in Pennsylvania and there was another plane in Washington, DC.

SEWARD: Did you know anybody affected by this traumatizing event?

SACHS: I did not know anyone who was there personally that day. Life has definitely changed for those of us who remember 20 years ago. 

SEWARD:  Do you feel like the event could have been preventable in any type of way? 

SACHS:  No. Not at that point in time because our country is open to all people from all over the world, right? So we were not suspicious that anybody hated us so much that they would try to do something as horrific as that. 

SEWARD: Do you, when I say preventable, I mean so much preventable such as in like the before the plane as the plane is getting hijacked do you feel that the captain or anyone else like that could have possibly called out or anyone in the building could have evacuated beforehand? 

SACHS: You know, no. Cause people just didn’t know what was going on now as far as in Pennsylvania when the people on board that plane realized that. That plane was actually — they think — going to a target in Washington, DC, that they actually brought it down. They sacrificed  their own lives to try to storm the cabin to prevent them from flying into, you know, another building so they did take action but as far as, you know, in the buildings, the united nation those twin towers were huge. I mean, you know, what they did was hit just right in the middle, right where they knew the beams would be able  to melt which would then cause everything to come down. It’s really amazing, not amazing, I mean horrifying, how that one day changed and there was no like now, looking at certain groups of people — I’m trying to decide how to say that — looking at certain groups of people with suspicion now because of the ethnicity of the people who carried out those actions.

SEWARD: After the 9/11 effects do you feel that the people of the United States, in general, around the world the way their views looked at you know these type of people and how they associated this entire specific race to all terrorisim — do you feel that, that was so much of — how do I say this — kind of like a flight or fight type response to everything? Because of the traumatizing events that took place, or do you feel that people were being cruel?

SACHS: Everybody wanted an outlet for something. Everybody wanted to be able to blame somebody and of course it’s wrong to identify a certain group of people. There’s good and bad people in all the people of the world, but it was easier for people I think to get over the pain and the shock of what happened to focus on certain groups of people.  

SEWARD: Do you personally feel like you yourself has viewed anyone differently or looked at  any type of anything differently: planes, firemen, or people just in general? 

SACHS: I think the first responders became more recognized as heroes, and it was very obvious that they put their lives on the line. So many of them died. Those that didn’t die right then often suffered tremendous respiratory damage. 

SEWARD: Cause of the fire. 

Ms.Sachs: Cause of breathing in all, we didn’t know all the chemicals that were in the building  composition that you know they were subjected to breathing. Personally, it’s hard objectifying certain people. I was raised that with everybody you don’t look at race, religion, creed.   

SEWARD: People are people. 

SACHS: People are people, so I was fortunate being raised that way. 

SEWARD: If you can tell our generation one thing to somehow in the future, look at signs or take action about anything you know, what would you tell us, or even just general information that this generation should know, what would you tell us?

SACHS: To be aware. Just like we say, “If you see something, say something,” I think that applies all around. You know in looking back, why were those people taking plane lessons? You know, but it’s just you have to be aware of everything around you. You can’t just assume something. Just be aware and, you know, it doesn’t mean be critical. It just means be aware. Be aware and don’t be afraid. 

SEWARD: Do you feel that any these you know this specific suspects and people involved in this do you believe that their families are traumatized or you know if they feel more like of a outcast or anything like that because of something their family members did? 

SACHS: Um Probably but if we’re talking about actually what’s going on right now is one of the they think masterminds of 9/11 is actually on trial right now in Guantanamo, um the others died  most of the other people died um and in the culture they live in their probably celebrated because they got over on you know they considered the United States evil so. 

SEWARD: And how do you feel we as United States people and you know how do you feel we can make these other countries all included more comfortable with the thought were just like them? You know, we’re not too — most of us aren’t –that privileged. Most of us, we have our own struggles and problems. So how do you feel we as this generation and the further generations and even past generations could possibly change how we react and treat these other countries?

SACHS: You know, in realizing that we’re no better and no worse. The United States has some things that they should not be proud of over the years. Slavery was one thing, right? How could we have thought that it was right to treat people as objects? And there have been other things. So if we accept that, we might have certain things that we can share and give to other countries that would help them. We, likewise, have to believe that they can also share and improve our country as well. 

Another random silence 

SEWARD: Um and also with the events going on around that area, now how do you feel that this can also be prevented? If they just so might take action, what can we do as people to prepare ourselves for the absolute worst.? 

SACHS: You can’t, you really can’t. Again just be aware of things going on around you. You know when we talk about like earthquake preparedness here in california, okay we can have the food and have the water and blankets the batteries all those things. 

SEWARD: But nothing ever prepares you to lose things.To lose all of what you have.  

SACHS:  And you can’t live being afraid of everyday so you can just prepare yourself as best you can.  

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If you or a loved one is suffering because of sexual assault, please do not be afraid to ask for help. The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 1-800-656-4673.

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http://rainn.org/resources

http://thevoicesofhope.org

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