If you were alive during September 11, 2001, you’ll never forget where you were or what you were doing. For me, it was eighth grade homeroom class. We’d just finished ISTEP testing and the principal came over the PA system. Initially, I remember the tone of his voice being grim and thought he might say sometime to the tune of, “I’m sorry to announce this… but you’re done with ISTEP testing!” Yet as he continued speaking it was clear he had serious news. My mind wondered and I remember hoping that none of our faculty had passed away, and that’s when he broke the news that two planes had flown into the World Trade Center while we were taking our tests. Our school would go on lockdown and resources would be available for students/staff as needed.
Last year was the first year my son really was able to grasp the significance of September 11th, and this year he again hit me with a variety of questions, all incredibly difficult to answer in an age-appropriate manner for an 11 year old. Last year was also the first time that we found a way to honor the anniversary in a meaningful way. Each year since 2001, there are groups of people in our community that gather at two overpasses along Interstate 69. Each year, these people take off work and spend their day holding American flags and waving at cars driving on the side streets and underneath them on the interstate. It’s an incredibly powerful sight to see and brings me to tears every time I see them. Last year, it just so happened to be pouring and cold on September 11th. After I picked Science Kid Caiden up from school, we did a Starbucks run and grabbed a few hot chocolates and a few cookies to take to the flag wavers. What touched me the most, is that the individuals out there were more thankful we stopped by to wave a flag then they were for the refreshments. So this year we joined them again.
I’ll be honest, I don’t often feel like I’ve achieved a parenting win. (I personally find parenting to be a game of ‘I hope I’m doing this right and not messing this child up for life!’) But both years, I’ve walked away from that bridge feeling like the trip was a win. It was reinforced today when Science Kid Caiden said “that made me happy” as we were driving off.
I hope everyone was able to take a second today to reflect on the tragedy that unfolded 15 years ago. To the first responders, innocent victims, friends and families of those lost, our thoughts, prayers and hearts are with you today. While we may not directly understand your loss, we grieve with you and have not forgotten. And on today, September 11, 2016, we honor you all.