This morning, I woke up in one of the tallest buildings in Atlanta. My husband and I attended a concert in a downtown park last night. With an early morning flight to catch, we decided to get a hotel in the city. With my love on a plane and a view of the surrounding city, remembering 9/11 today seems especially poignant.
Twelve years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. It seems like yesterday that I stood in my office with my coworkers. Since we were a post production house, we had our share of televisions. We stood around the biggest one, in the workplace “living room”. As the minutes turned into hours, we sat together, glued to history unfolding before us. We never worked that day. Eventually, we all left and went home to our families. For me, that meant heading straight to my boyfriend’s apartment. I don’t even remember much of that evening. We just wanted to be together. I went home that night scared and afraid and shocked like so many of us.
Like many couples, said boyfriend and I got engaged that next year. There was a spike in marriages and babies following 9/11, as people sought to rebuild from our very foundations. Twelve years later, KP and I have a family of four.
Each year since, we pause to remember. We remember the lives lost, the innocent people who didn’t deserve that kind of death. We remember the first responders, heroes who did what they were trained to do and by paying the ultimate price saved many. We remember that there is misguided hate in this world, people who believe in a cause bred from evil.
KP and I have two daughters growing up in a post-9/11 world. Twelve years later, what does that mean? How do we teach our children to remember an event they weren’t born for?
I am personally not ready to explain to my 5 and 3 year old what actually happened 12 years ago. Especially when their father is on a plane and in big cities practically every week. They still live in a place where nearly every adult they encounter is kind and loving to them. Thankfully, they don’t even realize that kind of evil exists.
So instead, my plan is twofold: I will exercise my freedom and I will promote acceptance.
I will show my daughters what it is to live in this great country. After school today, we will get our flu shots. I will explain to them that not everyone in the world can just walk in to a clean, quality healthcare facility. That preventative care is an added bonus. We will then attend Wednesday evening activities at our church where they can freely study and worship God. Where their mother will attend a council meeting and teach the Bible. And that’s just today. Every day, we have freedoms so many in our world don’t. I will work to share those with my girls in ways they can understand.
I will teach them to embrace differences. As I foster a firm foundation in what they believe and what they support, I will continually encourage them to learn more about what they don’t know. From different cultures to different religions, I want to raise children that are open and accepting of others. This begins with exposing them to that which varies from their norm. So we will try new foods, new customs. We will step outside the routine.
Baby steps now will lead to greater strides later. And when they do learn about what really happened that day twelve years ago, they will have a mindset that will allow them to promote peace.
In remembrance of all who were lost on September 11, 2001.