There are moments in history where I’ve heard people say they will never forget where they were when they heard the news. The attack at Pearl Harbor, JFK being shot, the Berlin Wall coming down… I’m positive there are many people that know where they were during those events.
I know exactly where I was on September 11, 2001. I had a 7 o’clock class at Life University that morning and I was just going home for a little break, because my next class wasn’t until 11. While sitting on Life’s Way, waiting to pull out onto Cobb Parkway, when I heard on the radio that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. At this point, it had just happened and, of course, no one thought that someone had actually done this on purpose.
I continued on home, which was only a few minutes drive, and as soon as I got home I turned on the news. I’m not generally a news watcher, but I wanted to see what was going on with this plane! Almost immediately upon turning on the news, the second plane hit the other tower.
I just sat there. As I’m sure most of America and the world did…
I was stunned.
The shock of it all subsided fairly quickly and it turned into sheer devastation. I bawled like a baby! I was 7 months pregnant and I remember calling my mom and saying something about not wanting to bring a baby into this horrible world! She reminded me I didn’t have a choice and I continued to bawl like a baby calmed down a little.
My hubby was out doing some marketing for his office and so I couldn’t get a hold of him (This was before everyone had a phone on them at all times). I new he was fine… I mean we were in Marietta, GA… far from NYC… of course, that being said, I also remember talk of being worried that Dobbins Air Force base could be a target as well. At that point, no one knew to what extent we were being attacked and thought Dobbins could get hit. We had no idea what buildings or landmarks were on the list of targets. My brother and countless friends lived about 400 yards from Dobbins (as the crow flies), not to mention, the University I was going to was about the same distance. That fear lessened as the day went on.
My hubby’s brother lives in Manhattan, and we weren’t really sure if he would be in the path of the debris in the area or if he would be in any danger at all. I didn’t have his number to call him and my hubby wasn’t home. It ended up that he was fine, but I was concerned for him… nothing compared to the concern of the people who had friends and family members IN the buildings!
I’ll never forget this one girl from my class… I was in clinic and there was a crowd around her trying to console her. Her dad worked in one of the towers. They couldn’t get a hold of him to see if he was okay, because all the phone lines were tied up in NYC. I’m not sure when they finally found out, but he was okay. He got out of the building. He was actually on a floor above where the plane hit and he is one of the many unsung heroes. Not only did he get out, but he helped a woman out that, because of disabilities, would not have gotten out without that help. One of the many heroic stories of the day.
Anyway, I missed my 11 o’clock class. I just sat on the couch. The rest of the day is pretty much a blur other than my memory of seeing my classmate in clinic who was worried about her dad.
Now, ten years later, I have 3 kids. I hadn’t yet told them about that day. I guess I was just trying to shield them from all the wickedness. Well, the other day, they were talking about it on the t.v. and I just started crying. That kind of forced me to tell them something. How much do I tell them? How many details?
I ended up (through tears… not my best mommy moment) telling them that some bad people took over some planes and ran them into the World Trade Centers. Then, I continued and told them about the heroic people on Flight 93 who took over the plane, knowing that they would die, so they could save who knows how many lives. I even showed them a few pictures I found online. Some of the pictures I found were inappropriate for their age, so I told them they could see those when they were older.
I told them it was a sad day.
What else is there to say to a 9 and 7 year old?
If you feel like sharing, tell me where you were on that day in a comment.
Some people don’t like rehashing this every year. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Lots of lives were lost for no good reason. Why can’t we talk about it? Don’t you talk about loved ones that have passed on when it is their birthday?
I want to remember. I want to remember that we aren’t invincible. But that when bad things happen, we can turn to God and to the friends and family He has placed in our life to get through those bad times.
The United Stated of America, and the world as a whole, embraced one another that day. We remembered we are all human and need one another.
We need to remember that feeling of togetherness that this horrific day gave us.
What do you tell your children?
Follow your heart. I personally don’t give my children a lot of details regarding violent events until they are older.
I can’t tell you what to say. We need to be careful how we talk about this day, though. We need to be mindful to not strike fear in our children’s hearts.
One important thing to talk about is all the heroes of the day. Find hero stories and share those.