Tag: We will never forget

Ten years on

September 11, 2011

Ten years.

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.

My journaling about Peter Jennings talking to an "expert" while the South tower collapsed.

 

A scan of the text from my journal where I detail how I screamed at Peter Jennings when he failed to acknowledged the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

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.

A scan of the top of the page of my journal where I scratched out a note saying we hadn't even begun to understand the full impact of the attacks.

 

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.

 

Sorry

There were many sites I wanted to see during our stay in Washington, D.C. this summer. I knew there was too much for us to tackle in one trip, but I was committed to visiting the Pentagon Memorial to those who gave their lives on September 11, 2001.

As we walked from the Metro station to the site of the memorial, my husband endeavored to explain the significance of what we would be seeing to Mim. We’ve had lengthy discussions with Fish about the events of that day and their significance, but had yet to broach the subject with Mim directly.

My husband was educated to be an elementary school teacher. It is definitely the public schools’ loss that he never made it into a classroom of his own. He is a wonderful teacher and he has a great way with kids. As I listened to him explain the crash in terms my son could comprehend, I got watery eyed. In part, it was the ease with which he clearly translated the happenings and in part it was the memory of what happened.

As is his way, Mim quickly followed his father’s explanation with a question. “Did they have to say they were sorry?” A perfect question from a wiggly little boy struggling to learn the rules of this world. It made me smile.

I suppose the immediate answer is yes, we demanded an apology, and thousands of “them” and “us” died pursing “Sorry”.

To the families of those who died that day and the soldiers who gave their lives in the battles that followed. “Sorry” will never be enough.

To all those who lost so much that day I wish you peace.

To the men and women of the military and our public safety personnel and their families, I offer my heartfelt thanks for all that you sacrifice to ensure our safety and our freedoms.

September 11, 2001, we will NEVER forget.