Sunday, September 11, 2011

What 9/11 Gave Us

I had the radio on during our late breakfast today, listening to the ceremony at 9/11.  "This is important," I told my 3 youngest as they slurped their sugary bowls of goodness and bickered over the Sunday comics.  "Shhh - listen."  Silence reigned for a full minute or so as they finished their breakfasts and then was shattered by the scraping of chairs and the clanging of spoons in the sink.  "Can we go out, Mommy?" Rachel and Susie asked.  "We want to go outside!"

I hesitated.  Shouldn't I keep them inside, get them to listen to some history, discuss the significance of the day with them?  Just for a few minutes before they went on with their normal activities?  The girls were standing there, waiting, the only two members of our family born since that fateful day 10 years ago - they wouldn't have been here if my husband had happened to be in the wrong place that morning.  Their standing there, alive, is significant, in that life for us has gone on uninterrupted; we were some of the lucky ones.  Shouldn't we celebrate that normalcy?

"Yes, go out and play," I told them, grateful beyond all measure for their existence.  9/11 has left us in the end, surprisingly, with a gift - a renewed appreciation for each other, for the fragility of our lives together.  When people speak wistfully of how Americans acted - how we "came together" - after the towers fell and the Pentagon burned and a plane full of brave yet desperate passengers smashed into a field in Pennsylvania - isn't that sense of mutual vulnerability what they are referring to?  How better to honor the memories of those who died than to remember - every day, but particularly this day - how much we need each other in this most temporal of worlds?

Heady stuff, and all before 10's that sort of a day, isn't it?

[Burning towers image:]


  1. Well said. And I can't think of a better way for your kids to spend it than having a normal day and playing outside...honoring and remembrance has its place today, but so does living life to the fullest and celebrating our return to normalcy.

  2. It is.

    I hadn't thought about the fact that my 16-year old wouldn't recall a lot of the details--after all, she was 6 and we tried to shield her from them. She has been consumed with learning more about the details from The History Channel.

  3. Amen.

    My old college roommate had her baby at the end of that endless day. Life anew amid the ashes.

  4. Yes, indeed, it was that kind of day. Being my second-born's birthday, we've juggled the two sides of the coin for the past 10 years.
    ~Karen (formerly kcinnova)