11 September, 2006
We Cannot Afford To Forget 9-11
This morning I have purposely not turned the television on because as we mark the 5th anniversary of the attack on America I wanted some time to just reflect and remember without the news telling me how to remember. I actually hate using the term anniversary for a day like today, because that word usually means joy and celebration, and this day is a day that revives much heartbreak and pain. In many ways it is hard to believe 5 years have passed since that fatefull morning. I remember that day so vividly it is as if a video tape is running through my mind. I remember seeing the news just after the first plane hit. I was just getting ready to take my kids to school. I didn't say anything to them about it, as I did not want to upset them. I drove a little faster to the school that day, as I wanted to get back to see the news. As I pulled up in front of my son's school, he asked me, "Dad, what's wrong? You are upset." I just hugged him extra tight and as I told him "It will be alright" and I kissed him goodbye. I rushed back home and just shortly after walking in the door, I saw the plane crash into second tower. I remember standing there for several minutes, then I finally called my brother in-law, who raised me from the time I was 11 and I asked him if he had his TV on. He was still in bed and when he heard me crying he asked what was wrong. I told him that America was under attack and that life was about to change. Like many Americans, I could hardly pull myself from the television that day. I fielded a few phone calls, went to a community prayer meeting in the square in the town were we lived but pretty much stayed home other than that.
When I picked up the kids from school, Daniel, who was 11 at the time had heard that something had happened, and he wanted to know about it. I sat him down and tried to explain what had happened, but he was not grasping it. I finally made the decision to let him see what was happening on television. This moment is what stands out in my mind from that day more than any other. Daniel was sitting in the floor watching the tapes of the plane hitting the tower and then the collapse of the towers, when he stood up and began to just shake and sob. I grabbed him and hugged him and he more or less collapsed into my arms and he said these words; "Dad, I never knew that anyone could be so mean or full of hate." I just sat and held him as he cried for the next half hour or so. I realized in those moments that this was not just something happening to those in New York or DC, this was happening to all of us. My son's world of innocence was lost that day, stolen from him by terrorists. We all lost something that day, and we cannot afford to forget it.