Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dear Children, 10 years ago today on September 11th, 2001

Dear Children, 
Ten years ago today on September 11th, 2001, the world as I knew it changed.  Tonight we talked all about the events that took place 10 years ago today, and why we should remember those who died on that tragic day. 

I want you to know that there will be moments in life where everything changes in a single moment, and I want you to remember something.... America is resilient.... and you especially... are resilient.  Things may change, but you have the power to make the best of things and carry on.  

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, your Dad and I were getting ready for an early work day.  Daddy had an early morning meeting and then he was off to the airport.  It was nearly September 15th a big tax deadline for my job, and work was busy.  Dad was listening to the radio while taking a shower and the radio show was talking all about how a plane had crashed in the World Trade Center Tower.  Daddy had just gotten back from New York a few weeks earlier and ran out to turn on the TV in our bedroom.  He told me, "That building is so tall, how are they going to repair it?"  I remembered telling him, "You're dripping on the floor!"  It seemed so trivial now to be worried about the wet floor. 

I sat up to watch, and I couldn't fathom how they would ever put the fire out, but Dad was confident they could stop the fire.  We watched the second plane hit, which just looked like an explosion.  It took a few moments to realize what had just happened and then that was the moment where everything changed.  

When I realized this was not an accident, but an attack, a premeditated orchestrated plot.... life as we knew it changed.  Somehow, I had been the smug American who thought we were invincible, but in reality we were vulnerable to terrorist attacks just like any other nation.   

At this point, Daddy had to leave for his meeting, he is ever so diligent.  I sat there in bed, stunned, and scared, thinking... I should head into work, but I can't everything seems so trivial and trite.

Then there are reports that the Pentagon has been hit and I start to panic.  There are lots of misreported stories, someone mentions a car bomb has gone off in front of a federal building, which was false. The White House is evacuated (true), and I remember thinking, "What do I do now?"  

Flight 93 crashes into the ground in Pennsylvania and I start to panic, the attacks are moving west.  I call your dad, he assures me he is on his way home.  I call my friend Laura who tells me, "This is crazy... what is going on?" I then call my own dad who reassures me that I will be okay, but store some water just in case we are stuck at home for a while.* 

My dear children, here is the thing that is amazing to me, ten years later I can still recall all these details and my heart pounds as I relive those moments.   This was a defining moment in history, and I watched it all unfold.  My tale is not harrowing, I was not in New York or on one of those flights, and for that I am filled with immense gratitude. 

Your dad and I stayed home from work for three days.  We were glued to the TV, watching the stories unfold, trying to figure out where some of our friends were.  America is resilient, people turned to their faith, people were genuinely concerned for one another.  I remember the checker at the grocery store asking me with sincerity, "How are you?" Instead of these attacks ripping us apart, it made us stronger and more united as a nation.  This is the lesson I want you to take away from 9/11, learn from America. When a crisis happens to you, your family, your nation, it can either tear you apart, or make you more united.  This is a choice you can consciously make as you face the trial head on and I'm hoping your remember to stand united. 

May we remember those who lost their lives, their families, and may we never forget to stand united as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
*PS If Dad ever tells you his side of 9/11, he will probably tell you that he came home to find me in my Underwear, Galoshes, wearing a tin foil hat, filling up buckets of water in the backyard...  I want you to remember, I don't handle emergencies well and I wasn't wearing a tin foil hat.  Unfortunately, the rest is true.

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