WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Sept. 11 is now a day to remember for people across the country. It has now been 21 years since the 9/11 terror attacks on United States soil. Many remember exactly what they were doing and the emotions they felt that day. 

Lisa Gray is one of those people. At the time, she was a second-grade teacher at Buckner Performing Arts Magnet Elementary School. She remembers focusing on teaching to get through the day. 

“I remember that we were in a staff meeting, and I had a student teacher at the time,” Gray said. “And she had she was a little late, and we couldn’t figure out why she was running late.”

Gray said the news her student teacher gave her was scary. 

“I was determined to just go in and teach my students and not say anything about this,” Gray said. 

The former teacher remembers avoiding going into the teachers’ lounge where she knew there were TVs for the rest of the day. 

“Once I saw the initial towers being hit, I just didn’t want to keep saying that over and over and over again,” Gray said. “It was just very traumatic.” 

The second-grade teacher was determined to keep the news from her young students.  

“I was actually kind of glad that I could go into my classroom and just close my door and teach my second graders and not even think about that,” Gray said. 

But she couldn’t help but think about what the conversations between her students would be like the next day. 

“How many of them would know anything?” Gray wondered. “Who wouldn’t know anything about it? So that was a bit concerning.” 

But her fear didn’t just stop in Wichita. 

At the time, Gray had friends who lived in New York and worked near the World Trade Center. She said the hours and hours she went without knowing if her friends were okay were frightening. 

“They had gotten a late start that day and couldn’t even get on to the trains because everything was shut down,” Gray said. “I think that’s probably what saved them from being in all the confusion down in that area.” 

Gray said it was and still is important that people don’t live in fear–even though that day 21 years ago changed how people see the world. She said she–like so many others–would’ve never imagined something like this could happen.