Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Later

It is September 11th, again. Seven years after the attack on America, we as a nation are still attempting to heal from the deep wounds inflicted in each of us on that day. Talking heads around the country have expounded on how we should acknowledge this day each year, what the permanent memorial should and shouldn't be, and how best to go forward as a nation. All of this chatter comes from raw emotions still unresolved seven years after that horrible day.

Today marks a first on this blog, a guest blogger. One of my most faithful readers and the subject of many posts here is Offspring #2, my fifteen year old daughter, Erin. And today she will be the first guest to share this space with me.

She was eight years old and in the fourth grade on this day back in 2001. Here are her thoughts on September 11, 2001, seven years later.

"Some people hijacked planes this morning; I heard it on the radio."

I didn't even flinch when my best friend walked into our classroom and spouted off her new information on the day in America. Why should I? At eight-years-old, I had no idea what "a hijacking" was. Even two hours later when my small, five person, 4th grade class was huddled around the radio, I didn't understand the severity of the situation. We were the only students in the school that knew what was going on; the principal had ordered the teachers not to tell their classes anything, but Mr. Medina and his five rebels, isolated in the only second story classroom on the entire private school campus, dared not heed this instruction and miss out on the important events of that chaotic day. My innocence didn't even suggest that I might worry about my Dad who was on a flight that morning. I had no idea at the time that my sister, one hallway away with the other middle schoolers, would be oblivious until we got into the car together that afternoon. I had no idea then that I would be writing about it today.

Looking back, I guess we all try to focus on the silver linings: we came together as a nation, we brought out true American heroes, and we proved our strength in the face of a tragedy. But, when I think about it, a lot of that has worn off. It's election year- we are definitely a divided nation. Those American heroes that stepped up? Many of them are injured; I can imagine that all of them are haunted by the reality of the images that live in their minds from this day. And why does it take a tragedy to show our strength? Now, it's just our generation's historical day of magnitude. For our parents it was Challenger. Our grandparents had JFK's assassination. D-Day. Pearl Harbor. Everyone has their own story of that day. Everyone has their own fear from that day. Everyone will always have that day. Own it. It's ours. What more can we say? What more should we say?

Out of the mouth of babes . . .
Thank you Erin!