(I first wrote this in 2009, but wanted to share it again. I can't believe it's been 10 years since that day.)
Last night, Bubba innocently asked me,
"Mom, what is the big deal about 9/11 anyway?"
How do you answer that? He was an infant at the time and has grown up in the post 9/11 world. So as I tried to explain it to him...I remembered once again:
waking up that morning thinking it was a regular day
seeing the second plane hit as we watched the TV and realizing this was not an accident
the jaw-dropping shock that we were "under attack"
the feeling of confusion as events unfurled
yelling OHNO! as my car radio announced the first tower fell as we drove to school
dropping off my daughter at kindergarten and wondering if I was nuts to leave her somewhere other than home that day.
meeting a mom in the kindergarten line who hadn't heard what was happening and telling her
meeting another mom who was trying to keep it together in front of her kids because her husband was at the pentagon and she hadn't heard from him yet
seeing people at school in tears
the overwhelming feeling of vulnerability
the need to call everyone I loved
the amazing footage and images
being glued to the TV for days and days
the connection I felt to my New York heritage
the heartbreak of seeing all the flyers posted of people looking for loved ones
my daughter asking that afternoon if we could please watch something else...
the patriotism I saw demonstrated all around me
the patriotism I felt (maybe for the first time)
being moved by the inspiring story of those who crashed their own plane in PA to save others
feeling so angry that there were those who thought of this plan and were able to carry it out
the lingering feeling that we are not as safe in America as we thought we were...
feeling SO grateful for the service of firefighters, police officers, good samaritans and our military
wishing I could do more...
I am remembering all of that and then some today. I try to explain it to my kids. They can understand the facts--but the feelings of it all are hard to pass on. I'm realizing now why former generations can be frustrated why we don't "understand" the Great Depression, the country-wide war effort during WWII, the emotions of the Vietnam War crisis...we get the facts, but it's hard to feel it. We are the on the other side of it all.
My kids live on the other side of 9/11.