Saturday, September 10, 2011

Things I want my child to know about September 11 ...

This weekend we've been watching, immersing ourselves in September 11 coverage and reflections. I can't really explain the feeling I get when I see video of that day; but I know it's the same gut-wrenching, heartbreaking feeling I got on the day it happened.

On that morning, I was just an ignorant college freshman. I never thought about what it would mean to live in a post-9/11 world. At the time, I didn't realized "post-9/11" would even be an era. I never realized the impact it would have on my future (now present) children.

I know now.

Ten years later, now a parent, I know all too well. I need and want my daugther to know the importance of September 11; but I want her to know more than words like, "terrorism" and "Ground Zero".

I want her to know that among the stories of helplessness, are stories of heroes. Tales of strangers helping strangers scale down stairwells and racing back up to help others. Stories of firemen and police officers who charged ahead to rescue those who were left behind. Stories of air plane passengers who stood up to the bad guys. Stories of young men and women, racing to enlist in the armed forces; to be at the front lines fighting for our safety here at home. Bravery like that? It's humbling.

I want her to know that from the midst of the mayhem that day, are stories of miracles.  Tales of split second decisions that changed the course of lives. How office plants, once covered in rubble and debris, are now flourishing and growing; given a second chance at life. How a lone pear tree, which survived the destruction that day, now stands proudly as a symbol of rebirth at the site of such devastation.

I want her to know how fear turned to faith; for much of our entire country.How across the nation, neighbors held candle-light vigils. How we held hands and prayed for those who lost loved ones; and how we prayed for our country to heal.

In the end, I need her to know that yes, terrible, terrible things happen. On that day, so many people lost their lives. But at the same time, and possibly most important, on that day, Americans weren't Republican or Democrat, Independent or Libertarian. We were just Americans; unified in our collective loss, unified in our collective patriotism.

As a result, someday when she's older we'll talk about what September 11 means; to us and to our country. And, we as a family will always take time to remember and reflect; because really? What's important than anything else is honoring that day.


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