13 years ago I did not have a child. My marriage was pretty new and I still remember my wife on the phone telling my in a terrifying pitch that we were being attacked. I can remember listening to the radio in the office of the grocery store I was a manager in and hearing that there were several planes unaccounted for. It seemed every couple of minutes a theory of what was going to happen next materialized out of thin air. Through all this chaos I was stacking soup cans. The concept that the United States could be under attack in 2001 was so alien to us that even as the world watched the towers fall most of us continued to work. Customers would ask me where the canned beans were and then almost dismissively say “what the hell is going on in New York?”. When I got home I couldn’t get my eyes off the TV. We were watching the world change.
On September 12, 2001 a strange thing happened. For a while it seemed that we all remembered we American. We remembered we were all on the same team. Some of our poor racial behavior toward each other faded a little. American flags flew on many more homes than September 10th, 2001. We were friendlier to each other, we talked to more strangers on the street, and we were scared. When a family faces a crisis they often quietly, slowly turn to each other for support and America was reminded it was a family on the horrific day. We acted quickly and went after our enemy. Most everyone was behind our president and his actions. I will never forget the stunned look on his face when his handlers told him, as he sat in a school classroom, what had happened. You don’t have to like George Bush but he did not back down and he stood strong for the country. Mistakes were made but in the heat of that moment I believe only a fool would hold those against him. I cannot imagine with what he was faced with the stress he was under but I digress. My point is we were united. There was little talk of political parties and their differences. There would be plenty of judging and finger-pointing later but the government was pretty united in the weeks after the attack. I could not imagine being a parent on that day.
What would I have said to my daughter? Would I have been able to explain that there are real bad people in the world but they are a minority so try to not be afraid. To be clear when I say minority I mean that their belief of hatred toward us is in a small number of people compared to our worlds population. Would I have been able to hold back my anger at the attackers and if I identified the wrong people as the attackers how would I explain that to her? I want my daughter to understand the moment but not be paralysed by it. My daughter was born seven years after the attack so it may never be real to her. I took her to Ground Zero shortly after she was born but she will never remember it and maybe that is a good thing.
Time has passed and we have been at war the entire time. We have killed many terrorist leaders and they keep growing back. The pride we had the day after the event has long faded. Like anything else in America the event has passed and we have new things to fight about nationally. We voted in a black president. During Obama’s election and for years into his first term it was a great time to “Blame Bush!” The war, the down turn of the economy, bad military decisions, and Lost being cancelled were all Bush’s fault. The new president tried to start strong. He continued to get some of the biggest terrorists of the day. But eventually it seemed like the war at home was bigger. The economy turned south, OBAMACARE was fighting point,gun control issues, people shot in schools, people shot on military bases, people shot in movie theaters, the man takes too many vacations, and now it’s Obama’s fault. Congress refuses to work together. The parties fight to the point that little gets done. The media is entertainment and they must have a script so the news is reported in either a conservative or liberal way. Rarely is the news reported. We blamed Bush and Obama but the government never seems to blame itself and its inability to be adults, resolve issues, and be leaders. What is a parent to do? How do you teach your child about 911 and how to resolve issues when our leaders can’t agree on biscuits or toast? I will tell you how in my humblest of opinions.
Emma the events of 911 were horrific. A group of terribly evil people killed many Americans over ideals that we will never fully understand. The people who did this were cowards and did it for reasons that at the end of the day just make no sense.The people that died at 911 were everyday people just going about their lives. Someone from nearly ever ethnicity and both sexes died that day. Many people drove miles to offer help not knowing what they were going to do they were just “compelled by the event”. You love dog sweet heart and even dogs became heroes searching for missing people over tons of rubble. People would work tirelessly pulling people living and dead out from the pile left at Ground Zero. 911 was a moment of clarity for this country and we showed the world that we take care of our own. We showed the world that we will drop everything to help fellow Americans. It does not matter their skin color, sex, faith, or who they love because we are all Americans. There was a war and is a war and war never makes sense but sometimes it is sometimes a needed evil. One of the many problems with war is figuring out when the juice is no longer worth the squeeze. As a result of our war many military people have given their lives. As a result of the recovery efforts at Ground zero many firemen, medical staff, police officer, civilians, and those rescue dogs either died or became very sick from working the site. Why we remember 911 is because we can never forget those that gave all. We can never forget the volunteers that dropped everything to help each other. We can never forget that although the world may seem scary that in the worst of times we pull together. No matter how poorly our government acts toward each other blaming each other for everything we must rise above. Sweetheart you are the future. Your generation is the future. There may still be wars ahead but you can choose to make a difference. Be kind to everyone. Do not judge race. Do not judge faith. Be careful not to pick a side where they tell you what side you are on. Be yourself. You don’t have to agree with everyone and not everyone has to agree with you but find ways to work with those that do not see you eye to eye. You will make mistakes in life but they are merely life lessons. If you can do this you will be honoring those that were lost and hopefully your generation can show my generation how foolhardy we sometimes are. I love you!
The truth is that there is not an easy way to talk to your child about 911 but I do think it is important that we give them a reason to remember the souls touched by 911 and to try and make sure as best you can that it does not happen again and if it does work together not apart. Bless and thank all that died at 911, all that worked the pile, all that fought and fight in the wars and every family member.
Posted on September 11, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged 911, 911 13th Anniversay, Bush, children, family, government, ISIL, ISIS, Life, media, NYC, Obama, parenting, Politics, War. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.