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September 12, 2012 / mommy brain

A day I’m glad T didn’t witness but one I will make sure he learns about

As I drove to a breakfast meeting yesterday morning, my favorite radio show, which normally focuses on the hilarious and not the serious part of life, spent time acknowledging the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. I found myself crying in the car, which is not at all how I thought my day would start.

I’m not sure why I had such a strong reaction. Maybe it’s because I am now a mom, and the thought of sons and daughters and mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers dying on that horrible day hurts even more?

Or maybe it’s because I spent much of 9/11/01 not knowing what had really happened. Eleven years ago yesterday, I was in an oil field in the country in France with no access to internet or TV, frantically trying to understand the French news broadcasters on the radio after the techs came back from town telling me they heard American cities were under attack. It was impossible to reach anyone in the US by phone, and I remember how scared I was at that moment, and how horrified I was to see the events of the day unfold on TV when I got back to my hotel.

Or perhaps it’s because NYC will always have a special place in my heart. I started my life in America in Brooklyn, NY, and if I may be so dramatic, and why not since it’s my blog, it’s where I started my own personal American dream. My sister and I have come a long way since our time in the small apartment in Williamsburg, but I still love NY. Alicia Keys and Jay-Z weren’t lying – NY’s big lights will inspire you.

I’m very happy to see the new WTC returning to the NYC skyline, but I will never forget and hope that my son never witnesses a day like 9/11/01.

Later in the day, I was perusing my facebook feed and noticed a post by a friend who teaches junior high school. He said he learned in class that many of his students didn’t really know what happened on 9/11/01. I found this shocking at first, but I suppose that children born after 9/11/01, or not long before it, wouldn’t know what happened unless someone told them about it. And this is where I arrive to the point of this post, as loose as it may be. I want to make sure to talk to T about what happened on that day, and not just in the academic sense. I want to talk to him about my experience that day, and what I know about the experiences of others. My uncle in NY was driving into Manhattan that day, and he saw the towers go down from his car. My friend walked home from Manhattan to Brooklyn that day along with hundreds of thousands of others. History does repeat itself so often, and it is so important that children grow up with an appreciation for it so that the next generation can learn from the mistakes and successes of the past.

All four of my grandparents survived World War II, and the stories they’ve told me over the years about their experiences have given me a deeper understanding of the horrors that took place during that war, and I so appreciate them sharing some of that history with me.  I called my grandmother in Poland on 9/11/01 after failing to get through to anyone in the US, and she was able to tell me what she knew from the news, and I remember how scared she sounded. She said to me that she hoped a new war was not about to start. I could hear the sadness and fear in her voice. I think it’s easy to feel detached from horrible acts that occurred in the past, especially as years and decades go by, but I’d like to make sure T has an appreciation for what happened, both good and bad, to generations before him, so that hopefully he and his daycare comrades and play mat buddies (including two who just celebrated their first birthday on 9/11/12 giving us something wonderful to celebrate on 9/11) have a better chance to show us old farts that, unlike many who came before them, they did learn from history and created a better world as a result.

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2 Comments

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  1. m / Sep 13 2012 8:36 AM

    very well written, sister! i know t-bear will grow up appreciating the past.

  2. Felicia Kemp / Sep 14 2012 7:08 AM

    After reading your post, I have now started MY day with crying. It’s so hard for me to think of that day without tears following. We have such an enormous task in helping teach our children to have love and respect for all people.

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