Seven years ago today, I was sitting at my desk in a job I didn't love. I was anxiously awaiting the birth of my first son. He was due in three days. He was not in my body, but the anticipation was intense.
Seven years ago today, one of my co-workers came to his desk and said, "Go to CNN.com. A plane crashed into the World Trade Center." The break room TV's were turned on. Every employee watched in horror as the events continued to unfold... We tried to work as usual, but as usual was redefined. It seemed with each passing hour, there was a new horror to report. "The second tower that was hit has collapsed to the ground." "The entire building?" "Impossible." "There is video of people jumping out of windows." "Today is September eleventh, like 911. I read on a website that is significant." "There is a plane down in some field in Pennsylvania." "I heard it was in Ohio." "The first tower hit has fallen to the ground." "They closed the Sears Tower." "The Pentagon has been hit with a crashed plane."
It seemed each time someone opened their mouth a new horror or paranoia would set in shadowing the last.
Seven years ago today, a skyline changed. A country changed. A war began.
Today, eating breakfast in the comfort of my own home, gazing at my boys looking their best because today is "picture day" at school, I couldn't help but realize that what seemed like an event that would forever stay ingrained in my mind is already becoming cloudy. As there are THOUSANDS of people that mourn the needless and innocent shed blood of their dads, moms, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, nieces, cousins and friends each year on this day, my life goes on pretty much as normal. I mourn no personal loss, but I mourn a day that seemed as though it would strongly unite our country. A country that today seems so divided and is constantly bickering amongst itself in the hype of the upcoming election. A country that is great for so many reasons. A country that has so much wealth, so much freedom, so much luxury, so much technology, so much abundance, and so much charity. Today as we should be remembering an event that changed our country in so many ways, I pray that we as Americans can unite and be proud.
I tried to teach my boys a bit today about this important date. I told them that seven years ago today, before they were born and when Gavin was still in his birthmommy's tummy, there were some very bad men who stole airplanes and crashed them into buildings and killed lots of lots of people. This was a very sad day and we need to remember this day as a special day in thanks for our great country and for our strong army (to my little boys, army means military) and our government.
Gavin: Did they die?
Me: The men that drove the planes died.
Grant: You are lying.
Me: No, Grant. This is very true.
Grant: (smiling) No, it's not. You are making this up.
Gavin: So all the bad guys are dead? Me: Well, the guys that drove the airplanes died, but their leaders didn't.
Grant: Mommy, you are lying. You are teasing. Me: Grant. No I'm not, sweetie. I wish I was. This was a very sad day.
Gavin: Did our army kill their leaders?
Me: Ummm, not exactly. We tried to capture some of their leaders, too. We still try to fight to keep those people that hate our country from hurting more people. We will probably always have to because there are people that hate our country because they don't know any better.
Grant: (sticks fingers in ears for remainder of conversation)
Gavin: Will they come back to our city and hurt us?
Me: No, sweetie. You are safe. But you have to thank your army and your country for that. (under breath) At least I hope so.
And I realized - there are some things just too horrific to comprehend. And I am ever so thankful that today I still have the freedom to get dressed and get my boys on this bus like any other day on this same day that thousands of lives are mourned. Because, isn't that what we continue to fight for?