Jennifer Chain’s 9/11 Experience
On September 11, 2001 Mrs. Jennifer Chain was 31 years old and doing an internship at Plainfield High School for her Master’s Degree in Counseling. She was giving the ISTEP test in the cafeteria when she heard about the first plane crash.
“All I saw on TV—at first—was smoke billowing from the towers. Late in the afternoon, I actually saw the forage of the second plane hitting the tower, and I thought I was going to be physically ill,” Chain said. “I actually just found out I was pregnant with my second child. My first thoughts were, “Oh, my God, what am I bringing my child into?” I thought we were going to be attacked on a larger scale.”
Just like most people, Chain wanted to be with her family. “I was apprehensive and sad, “Chain said. “I just wanted to be with my family and those who needed [help] in any way possible.”
“Students who were taking the test didn’t know anything about it, but the guidance director came
in and told the rest of us about it, and we were all trying to make fast decisions about whether or not we should let the students go out of the testing room on break. We were afraid they’d hear about it, and it would blow the test for them,” Chain said. “I listened to the radio the rest of the day while I worked and watched TV whenever I could to hear what was going on. We all tried to carry on as normally as possible, but we were in shock – like we were on autopilot.”
Futures all over America were affected.
“I can’t say that’s it’s affected me on a personal level, but I think all Americans learned a great deal from the tragedy that we still carry with us today. For instance, the first two planes crashed because the hijackers were able to take control pretty easily. However, the last plane didn’t reach its target because the passengers took action. Nowadays, if a person starts acting kooky on a plane, people take a stand and end it immediately. They don’t sit by passively and allow people to intimidate them,” Chain said. “My sister-in-law was going to school in New York at the time. She was on a subway when it all started and had to get off. Then she had to walk across a bridge to get where she wanted to go, with thousands of other people who were doing the same thing, and all they could think was that they might be the next target.”