As a parent, it is hard to decide what and when to teach my children certain subjects. In the mind of a young child, it is hard to separate yesterday from 20 years ago, but I also remember the hurt and, honestly, the disgust of learning they were not teaching my older children about 9/11 in school.
On September 11, 2001, I was standing in my school locker room. We were told to come back in early from our class, and the news was streaming through every TV. We were not sheltered from the events that happened that day. I remember the terror as the second plane hit, and the fact this was no unfortunate accident was bluntly apparent.
No, I do not think we should terrorize our children. I am also not suggesting you sit down with your young children and rewatch the videos of the World Trade Centers as they fell. Watching people jump from higher floors to their deaths because that was the best chance they had of survival that day is a memory that will stay with me forever.
But This Is Still Our History
When we BBQ on Memorial Day, I explain to my children why. They are young, so a simple “we have a day off to remember the soldiers that fought for our country but never made it home” is enough explanation. If questions are asked, I answer with the hope to keep young ears innocent for as long as possible but with enough truth to educate them.
No matter who you believe is to blame, or what political decisions you disagree with, our remembrance of 9/11 is not about that. It’s about the 2,977 people who died that day. It’s about an attack on our country, on our home soil. It’s about remembering the firefighters who chose to run back into the buildings for that last time. It’s about the faces of those covered in ash and dirt who were still searching, even when they knew they were not searching for life any longer.
It’s About Us
We all vowed never to forget, yet with political agenda and media misinformation, we blame and think that is more important to remember. I am not saying to forget those who fought in the war after, nor would I ever suggest alleviating blame for what happened after.
I am suggesting, however, that even if it is for just one day, we remember. We remember the unity of the brothers and sisters that ran into the carnage instead of away. We remember the lives that were taken needlessly. We remember the terror and the feeling in the pit of our stomachs as we watched the news that day and for the days to come.
Teach Because It’s Right
We have no problem teaching about Wars in the history books. Teaching about horrible instances that happened in countries other than ours. Teaching about how our nation divided because of a war that was fought against our own.
Why not teach about something so recent? Teach about a moment that brought our country to its knees. Teach about how we came together in the following days, months, even years.
Teach about the humans that risk their lives, the people who comforted others when they knew hope was lost. The families that took their last moments to tell their loved ones they loved them.
Those people didn’t see race. The heroes who ran back into those buildings didn’t ask about political affiliation before choosing who to carry out.
Forget about how far we have fallen for just a moment and teach about those we lost.
Remind them that in our darkest hour, our country came together as people standing side by side and lifted each other up when evil doomed us to drown.
Teach in hopes they will come together in the face of disaster, even though we no longer can. Teach so they will learn from our history and hopefully our mistakes.
You can teach them about the rest on 9/12.
- The Un-Traditional Mother