Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001?
It's as clear as day to me. I had just sat down at my computer, checking e-mail, beginning to respond to parent requests, when our maintenance guy came running down the stairs exclaiming that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York.
At first we all though it must have been an accident. Then we heard about the second plane. Clearly, this was an act of terror. I vividly remember asking myself...what else is coming?
Flabbergasted, I wasn't sure what to think. Being a newlywed by six weeks and just out of college, I was completely floored, speechless. The rest of the day still radiates in my mind as a complete blur, glued to whatever news coverage we could find. I watched in complete terror as the first tower fell and then the second. How could this possibly be happening?
I worked for a fairly large church in Atlanta, one that housed a school of nearly 500 children. I remember the talks amongst the staff...how do you explain this to the students? How do you even begin to break apart the horrific events of that day to elementary school children, kids who's greatest concern is what their parents packed them for lunch and who they were going to share it with?
As a 23-year-old, I didn't think much about it. In fact, I was thankful, at the time, that I didn't have to make those decisions or have any of those tough conversations.
Fast forward to present day. I have three children, a 6-year-old, 4- year-old and 2-year-old. With the 10 year anniversary, I'm struck with the reality that the questions are coming. They're finally old enough, at least two of them, to begin to comprehend the atrocities of that day.
The questions have already begun as my oldest is starting to hear about 9/11 in his classroom. So far, we're just scratching the surface. How do you unravel the events of that day and the impact it's had on our country in the years that followed? That's a lot of ground to cover with children who have very little concept of true evil.
While the images of that day are forever burned into my psyche, my children have nothing more than passing mentions in the hallways and classrooms. I imagine it's much like I viewed history lessons on WWII. It's not real to them.
However, it is extremely real and even painful to me. How do I put that in words that my children could understand? So I've reached out into great depth of the internet for expert opinions.
If you're in the same boat, struggling with what to say, I encourage you to check out these resources for help.
Combing through these articles and videos has helped me better prepare for the conversations I'm bound to have with my children in the coming days. I hope they will also be helpful to you as well.