Subscribe to Ordinary Parent Follow @ordinaryparent
(Originally posted on my old blog on 9/11/11) Following an emotional 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I had to think about the fact that my daughter, and children for the last 10 years, weren’t around to experience that Tuesday morning. I, like every American, remember where I was when I heard the news and I want my daughter and any future children to know what happened and know the importance of that day. So I’ve documented some of the things I will teach my children about 9/11 so that they will also never forget.
I was sitting in my 1st period class finishing a Humanities exam when our principal came over the intercom to “inform us of events going on in our country.” I remember thinking something huge must have happened to interrupt class for a news bulletin. My first thought was that there was an assassination, but I soon found out that the Twin Towers had been hit by planes, and 1 of the towers had collapsed. Some classmates had tears in their eyes upon hearing the news and knowing the loss of life that had just occurred. I quickly jotted something down on my last question and asked the teacher if I could leave the classroom to go find somewhere to watch the news and he gladly obliged. I then went down the hallway to the first room I could find that had a TV on and watched in awe as I saw the skies above New York City filled with the smoke of a fallen tower and one still in flames.
Every American has heard stories about the regular folks who went to work that morning and became heroes before the day was over. My children will learn about the firefighters, police officers, first responders, and regular civilians who worked to save the lives of countless numbers of people. My children will learn that even though some of them did not survive the day, we can respect them and their families by remembering the sacrifices they made. My kids will hear of the attack on the Pentagon and the civilian heroes that saved Flight 93 from causing even more death and destruction. My kids will learn that you should always be respectful of others, to do what you can to help those in need, and to stand up against evil. And the stories of 9-11 will be an ultimate example of that lesson.
One day I will teach my children about the days, months, and years that followed 9-11-01. I will recount the empty skies above our nations as no planes could fly for a couple weeks. I will tell them of the changes in security measures our country implemented. I will tell them about George Bush at Ground Zero announcing that the people responsible for this attack will “hear” our country soon enough. They’ll hear about the members of congress who sang “God Bless America” from the steps of our Capitol. I will teach them about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the ongoing struggle to prevent other attacks. I know that I’ll never be able to truly understand or explain all the impacts, and some of the impacts are yet to be known, but I will try.
Together with several friends from our church, we met in my parent’s basement and we prayed. We prayed for the victims and their families. We prayed for those who lost children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends, and co-workers. We prayed for the children who did not get a chance to know their mother or father. We prayed for our country and the future of our country and world. The important thing that I hope my children will understand from this is that in the face of tragedy and uncertainty, we went to God. We had no idea what the future would hold, but, as the saying goes, we knew Who would hold the future.
Our country came together. We vowed to always remember, to rebuild, and seek justice for the lives lost that day. I’ll tell them about how the sites of towers were monumentalized 10 years later, and that the new buildings represent our resolve to bounce back from such a strike. They will learn of all the volunteers who made their way to New York to help, and the thousands who stood in lines to donate blood to the injured. They’ll learn that in the face of terror, Americans will continue to fight for their freedom. We have been and can be hurt…but it’s how we reacted as a nation that my children will respect and remember.
I’ll always remember. I guarantee my children will learn about it.