September 11, 2011
It takes less than ten seconds for me to travel back to the fear, uncertainty and sadness that was September 11, 2001. Fish was 17 months old. A week after the attacks I sat down and began a journal entry for her. I wasn’t faithful to journalling at that time. Running a small web-design business and raising a toddler kept me away from my words, but I couldn’t NOT write. I emptied my head and my heart for about 8 pages, piecemeal, over the next month.
Ten years later, Fish is 11, smart and a sponge who loves to suck up knowledge. She craves details. She knows about the journal and I’m debating sharing it with her this year. It took me a while to locate the box with the canvas bound journal in the attic, but I knew I’d never have thrown it away.
The writings are addressed to her specifically. I talk about where I was when it happened. I walk her through the first few hours of the aftermath. Detailing with whom I spoke, and what I was seeing and hearing on the television.
I tell her about what happened as we knew it at that time. Some of my information is inaccurate, I quote a death toll of over 5,000. It would later be reduced to just over 3,000.
Some things I got right even then.
Reading my words, it all comes rushing back to me. The fear, the tears and the overwhelming sense of sadness. The feeling we as a country had been violated and had taken a turn for the worse. I’m not sure she’ll have the same reaction when she reads it. I suspect down the road after she has more life experience she’ll be able to better identify with my emotions.
We’ve discussed the events of 9/11/01 and even visited the Pentagon Memorial. Still, to Fish and Mim, it will always be history. Part of me would like to keep it that way. It was such a horrible experience, let it lie flat on the page of a history book. Making it real for them, to me means an end to their innocence. And yet, much of the state of our economy and foreign policy can be tied back to the events of that day. If they are to be educated citizens of the world, it is our job as parents to help them to understand what happened, why it happened and what the long term effects have been. My words do not equate to an academic analysis, but they are snapshot of the time.
I pray she and her brother NEVER have to experience anything close to 9/11, yet I know for that to happen, we as a country have to be educated and diligent.
September 11, 2011, we will never forget.