Saturday, September 11, 2010
Never Let Them Forget
"Did something bad happen on September 11th?" My oldest daughter, Hannah, is almost 10 years old now. I hadn't yet explained to her the events of that day. It wasn't something I was anxious to share. I don't even want terrorists and hate and murder to exist in her world.
On September 11, 2001, Hannah was about six weeks shy of her first birthday. I was feeding her breakfast when my husband called to tell me about the plane hitting the first tower. When we all thought for a brief and innocent moment that it was some sort of weird accident. I turned on the TV in the living room and listened from the dining room, where I resumed my child's breakfast. And then I heard the words - a second plane had hit the other tower. My heart fell from my chest. And I continued feeding my baby her breakfast from Gerber jars. And people were dying.
So now she was asking. She wanted to know what happened while she was eating her baby food, blissfully unaware. A friend at school told her that a plane had crashed into a building. Yep. That's stripping it back down to its bare naked innocence. If only it were that simple. But I'm sure she was wondering why. And it was time that she knew.
We were on our way to her first Girl Scout meeting of the year. On our way to an activity where she learns to be a confident, good citizen and a contributing member of this society. And I have to tell her about those that wish to tear apart our very way of life and our very lives. But I didn't use those exact words with my still-nine-year-old. No, I chose my words very carefully. I gave her the facts and I tried to explain "why." The very question we have all been asking ourselves for the past 9 years. But I can explain the reasons without fully understanding or agreeing with them.
I tried to keep it simple. Even still, her attention was waning. I'm not sure she realized what was in the box she was opening. I'm pretty sure she silently wished she hadn't asked. But it is my duty to pass the baton of knowledge to her. She may have been here when it happened, but she has no memory of it. She can't remember. So not only is it my responsibility to never forget. It is my obligation to make sure she never forgets.