It has been twelve years since the towers came crashing down, since so very many lives were lost. In that day, in those moments we were all changed. As the years have gone by, though, many have begun to say that we’ve heard enough, that it is time to move on. Yet, this morning I find myself compelled and driven to bring 9/11 to my children, to lay it and all its heartache and all its lessons in their laps. Oh, they’ve heard the phrases “twin towers” and “9/11”, and we have certainly explained the day to them in the past. But, even they, find themselves, this year, not knowing or not remembering what happened. It breaks my heart. It also gives me pause.
The most significant event of our recent history should never be forgotten, should never be brushed aside, should never be treated like a reminder to do our chores, bringing barely tolerant sighs – even from the adults.
Why the drive to teach them again this year? Maybe it is because, when I look down my street, not a single flag is flying. Maybe it is because most of those houses don’t even own a flag. Maybe it is because when we forget the lessons we should have learned then we run the very real and great risk of having to learn that lesson again. Maybe it is because, as a nation, we have made ourselves vulnerable and weak in recent years. And, particularly, in recent days. Maybe it is because our nations’ children should not have to relive and repeat tragedies because we got tired of hearing “the same ol’, same ol'”. Our laziness and foolishness will lead to their harm. Maybe it is because we really do learn from lessons past down generation to generation and this younger generation is being fed a washed off, cleaned up, distorted can of worms.
When this nation is vulnerable, my children are vulnerable. They deserve to know why. They have the RIGHT to know why.
So, we will spend some time today. We will watch the memorials. Yes, they will see the images. They will hear the heartbreak that still lingers in the voices of those who lost so much more significantly than we did that day. We will talk politics. And religion. We will talk of love and hate. We will discuss and debate and reflect and soul search. We will talk about lessons to learn from really bad things in life. Perhaps a little innocence will be lost. That I do regret. But as I prepare to gather them in I cannot negotiate that consequence away. It is necessary. And I love them. And they will be aware, and they will have informed and educated opinions of their own, and they will know truth and be able to separate it from the rest.
Because they are young and vulnerable.
Because we have the responsibility to protect and teach them.
Because I love them.