There are two things I dread teaching my children.
One is a personal matter that forever changed my family. When this happened, it was one of two times in my life that room seemed to tilt on end and my mother had to catch me. It profoundly changed my view on life. I will always remember where I was when I heard that news.*
The other is 9/11/01.
|photo via Facebook. Author unknown|
As a child, I loved hearing where my parents where when JFK or MLK were killed. Our history teachers encouraged us to ask our parents this and share their oral history. Until Oklahoma City, Princess Diana's death and Columbine, my generation had never experienced something as profound and moving.
I was watching the very early morning news in our apartment in Korea when I learned about Oklahoma City. Princess Dianna's death was the first bit of news I learned about via the Internet. I ran outside to tell my mother, who was walking the dog. I think I heard about Columbine in my dorm's lounge.
With all due respect, none of those could prepare my generation for 9/11.
I can vividly recall where I was, what I felt and who I saw the moment the principal announced, "A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center." I made the off-hand comment, "I bet it was Osama Bin Laden." For the last time, someone would say, "Osama who?"
Although I cannot speak from experience, this seems so much more personal than JFK. Perhaps it is because more people died. Perhaps it is because it was a direct attack against America, not just one person. Perhaps... I don't know.
I wonder what my children will think, in the future, when I am am unable to turn away from the TV on 9/11 but dread watching it. I wonder if they will notice the changes on the faces of myself and my husband. The hushed, solemn voices. I wonder if they will notice how there are no jokes, no laughter when we retell the story. There is nothing but the memories of fear and uncertainty.
One day, I wish to take them to where the Twin Towers once stood. I, personally, have no desire to go there. I saw them once, in person, when I was Joseph's age. I do not wish to see what became, basically, a massive graveyard.
Yet I want my children to see it. I want them to know the magnitude of what happened, the brave men and women that risked their lives for their fellow humans. I want them to know, as much as they can, how the nation changed that day. I want them to know, so that history may never be repeated.
Freedom Riders, 9/11/11 photo credit: me
Tomorrow is going to be hard for me. 9/11 will always be hard for me. And you know what? I am so, so grateful that it is hard because it means I care. It means I remember.
I remember. And I will never forget.
*For those of you wondering, it was a long time ago and it does not effect our little family of six.