Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9.11

I often think about how I'm going to talk to Dash about 9.11. How I'm going to describe a world that changed so drastically five years before he came into it.

When I was a girl in elementary school, Holocaust survivors came annually to talk to us about what happened to them during that war. Even then, at 9, 10, 11 years old, I understood it was important to listen carefully. To never forget the lesson they were trying to teach us: that there is powerful hate in the world, but that love and rightness can beat it.

I am hopeful that something like that will fall into place for Dash's generation. I'm hoping that by the time he's old enough to understand, some of the political detritus that clouds our vision of that day still will have settled. I hope that the person who tells his story can explain about the hate that drove the terror, but also remember the love and bravery and sacrifice that sprung up instantly from it.

We who lived that day remember, don't we? How everything became pure the instant we realized what had happened. How the only things to feel were mourning for those lost and gratitude for those safe. Anger hadn't crept in yet, and even fear was still a little ways off. Those of us who were blessed enough to have ours whole and sound looked around and felt only love and thanks.

Regular life, of course, seeps back in. We let the pettiness and greed and thanklessness sneak past our guards, and we forget the way we felt that day--the saddest day of most of our lives (God willing) but also the truest.

Maybe that's how I'll talk to Dash about 9.11. We'll make its anniversary a day to focus on two things: mourning those who were lost and thanking God for those who are safe.

1 comment:

Type (little) a said...

When I finally got home on September 11, I wrote everything down in a paper journal, with the specific intention of letting my children (who were not born yet) read it someday when they are old enough.

I think about what to tell my kid, too. As I was walking out of Manhattan on the 59th Street bridge that day, I looked downtown and realized that the skyline I'd know my whole life would be a legend, a myth to my kids. Weird.