Teaching September 11th to My ChildBeth Anne Ballance
It was eleven years ago and I sat in Biology as a freshman in college. None of us knew what was happening outside but when we stepped out 90 minutes later, the entire world had changed. I come from a military family where duty and honor to country are simply a way of life but I still struggle with this day and how to teach it to my son as he grows.
I look at my little boy and I wonder if he will ever understand it and I wonder if I will ever understand it.
Will he ever understand why Momma & Daddy’s eyes hold pain and fear on this day? Why when we see a low-flying pain, a flash of panic etches our faces & our hearts thump. Why we never complain about carrying passports, taking off shoes, giving our full names because we know the alternative & it frightens us to think of that world. When we hear Alan Jackson songs, our eyes well up even though we don’t even care for the song but yes, I do remember where I was when the world stopped turning, Mr. Jackson.
It pains me to think that for him, it may be just another chapter in a history book, one more question on a hard test that he didn’t study for in lieu of soccer practice. I brace myself for the day that he carelessly says that he just doesn’t get why it’s such a big deal, why it still hurts us 20 years later, and why it even matters since we’ve never lived in New York.
I hope that in the coming years, I will have more of this squared away in my heart to where I can do the day justice, where Harrison will understand the horror and pain of a country that could do nothing but stand in shock.
So often we celebrate America and our freedom with red, white, and blue. We celebrate with hotdogs and fireworks and beers on regular holidays, but this isn’t a holiday. It’s a day of somber rememberence where there is nothing to make the sacrifice worthy.
My heart is with those in New York & around the world who lost someone dear to them eleven years ago. Peace to us all.
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