Last night, for the first time, I explained to my kids what September 11, 2001 meant.
I'm not sure why I took so long to tell them about what happened that day, but I think most of it comes down to the fact that they weren't born. #1 was only 4 months old. For the last 7 years, the subject of terrorism/hatred/fear/attack is not one I wanted to explain. They are quite young, and I was always afraid that they wouldn't understand; couldn't understand. But in a moment of inspiration, I took a few minutes to explain what the day meant; what it represented, and why we call it Patriot Day.
#1 listened with wide eyes; #2 and #3 were silent. They asked questions and I answered them the best that I could. They were shocked to know that three of our family members were in NYC that day; I had to remind them that they obviously came through it, since we've seen them recently. #1 was intrigued when I explained to them that their daddy and I were with #1 on a houseboat in the middle of Lake Powell and didn't know about it until Sept. 12, 2001. I told them how frantic we were to find out if our family members were okay; we were in shock as we drove through the cell-phone-dead-zone of southern Utah, desperately wanting to watch the news.
I told them about the policemen and the firefighters. I told them about the heroes on United Flight 93. I explained that we celebrate this day so that we will never forget those who died, those who rescued, those who hoped, and those who prayed. We celebrate it so we will not allow those who hate our country to win over our day-to-day lives. We remember so we don't live in fear.
I think they understood. I know I will never forget it and I don't want them to grow up without remembering it, too.
A friend of mine was working in the Capitol building in DC on 9/11. She wrote a beautiful and personal post about it --please go read it. And remember.
I know I've asked this before (last year?), but where were you on 9/11/01?