“All of a sudden, the day just kind of stopped”: Mike Potter 9/11 feature


Anisa Rachman, Editor

This year marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the day the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed by terrorists. While the younger generations view it as history, the day that was clouded with fear, confusion, and shock will remain in the memories of those who witnessed the events forever.

Assistant Principal Mike Potter had just started his first year teaching at CCAHS. 9/11 started off as a typical day for him. It wasn’t until some of his 10th grade English students had mentioned the events happening in New York that things started to take a drastic change in his day. 

Potter stated, “It was around 9:00 in the morning, someone had said, “Oh did you hear what happened in New York?” Everyone had turned on the tvs to the news channel and all of a sudden, the day just kind of stopped.”

From then on for the rest of the school day, many were in confusion and shock. In almost every room everyone had stopped what they were doing and watched the screen. Potter described it as like watching a movie. No one could wrap their heads around what was happening at the time.

“You’re not realizing the true impact while it’s happening.””

— Mike Potter

Like many people who can recall the events on that day, Potter remembers feeling the shock of hearing and watching the events of 9/11. Many Americans were confused and weren’t sure if the nation was under attack. Potter recollects that once The Pentagon was struck it was made clear to everyone that these events would lead to a war. 

As the nation watched the catastrophe take place, things were immediately beginning to change for the United States of America. “A really distinct memory I had later in the day,” Potter recalled, “was on my way home, heading into town there were lines of cars backed up out of the gas stations. Everybody was worried the price of gas would skyrocket.” Potter had stated that at the time, places like The Depot Express and Casey’s in Tiffin had cars lined up alongside the road. 

Potter had also noticed that during the panic and confusion, patriotism and nationalism had spread. “I think I remember people rushing to enlist and volunteer. It got more real, you know?  We are going to war. America won’t let this slide,” he voiced. With this of course, discrimination against middle eastern groups grew. Potter stated, “At the time, I think people felt it was justified. But looking back you realize that that group doesn’t define people from an entire region.”

In remembrance of 9/11, Potter took the time to read through articles and specials covering the tragedies. He reflected with his wife on what they were doing that day and where they were when the Twin Towers had been struck. Potter believes he was lucky in that his life was “insulated” and wasn’t significantly altered from these events. None of the things he valued in his life, such as his job and his wife, were in jeopardy.  

America will never forget the day of 9/11 or the victims who had lost their lives. In one of the most shocking and trying times for The United States of America, the nation not only held strong, but was also brought together during the crisis. 

“It was such a horrible tragedy, but people came together and had those moments of getting back on their feet.”