prepare to REMEMBER

Wow, eleven years, and I still remember it like yesterday.  I was in Pittsburgh at work, right next to the PittsburghAirport, actually, I was walking up the front stairs when Jim called me.  It still takes my breath away!  I sat on the steps in disbelief.  I talked to him several times that day as there was a chance with HazMat that he would be going to Shanksville.  I was in Pittsburgh, a couple hours from Jim and Mary.  Mary was with the sitter, Gina.  They told us we could leave and go home, but the streets were packed getting away from the airport.  Here I was right next to it – the airplanes always flew over the office.  It became an eerie silence.  I stayed till after lunch to avoid the traffic coming home.  It was one of the longest drives ever.  The radio stations were broadcasting story after story and I think I cried for the 2 hours coming home.  Life did change that day…

Fast forward that about 5 years when Mary would be seven and going to school.  She asked about 9/11 because it was on the news.  It wasn’t really in the history books yet – although it should have been.  But then again, maybe not, because then it would be portrayed as “politically correct” as much as possible.  So, Jim and I did what we always try to do – tell her the truth!  Tell her about the victims, the survivors, the heroes, the medical personnel, the firemen, the paramedics/EMT, the hospitals, etc…  We told her that terrorist hijacked planes and chose to change America forever.  There was no “politically correctness” in our descriptions.  We watched actual videos of that day that were accurate and not skewed.  And every anniversary since that day, we talk about that day.  I would dare to say, in our home, it is more a day we remember then MLK Day, etc.  Innocent people died that day.  We believe in community service and had we lived in New York, it could have been Jim as a firefighter, me as a nurse, or Mary in one of the daycares.  They were people just like us….

Fast forward to last year – the 10th anniversary.  We talked about how there was NOT room at the New York Memorial for the first responders and their families because the politicians were in town.  Appalling… to say the least!   It was a very hot topic in our family.     John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” — those rescuers laid down their lives for strangers… and politicians couldn’t even give up their seat.  But in our home, we did not forget that day, the victims, the families, the heroes….

Fast forward to today – the 11th anniversary.  AgoraCyberSchool talked about 9/11 during Mary’s classes.   In Samuel’s I know they paused for the moment that was paused around the world.   However, NBC channel did not pause to remember – they continued their interview with a Kardashien.  I can’t believe they missed a moment to at least capture the President.  Anyway, that too was a conversation in our home with Mary.  We are patriotic in our home and Mary definitely has that spark that flows through her too – so we discussed how disgusting and disrespectful.  So, we have never talked about it to Samuel, mostly because he has never asked, which may mean it hasn’t been a topic at school (or at least not one he remembered).  Today, as they showed the fireman picture raising the flag on the site during the moment of silence, he said, they are just like my dad.  I said you are right Samuel.  And he continued, and we have a flag on our house. And I said you are right Samuel.  He paused… I wanted to cry… He looked at the picture again and said it looks like big buildings fell.  I said you are right Samuel.  He asked what happened.  I have to remember that he doesn’t think like Mary, but he does get very angry when good guys get hurt.  So, I said some bad people wrecked into buildings on purpose (I avoided saying a plane, because then he would NEVER go in one).  He paused… his wheels turning… and said but the firemen and nurses like you helped the people that were hurt.  And I said yes… And some of the people went to Heaven.  And I said yes… He goes I will be both when I grow up – a fireman like daddy and a nurse like you, so I can help people too… 

I wasn’t sure where the conversation was going.  But, we do believe in being honest.  We can be a little more graphic for Mary and scale it down for Samuel.  I am sure that every year, in this house, we will remember.  Some things are just too important to forget….

 “No matter how hard we try words simply cannot express the horror, the shock, and the revulsion we all feel over what took place in this nation on Tuesday morning. September 11 will go down in our history as a day to remember.” – Billy Graham

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2 thoughts on “prepare to REMEMBER

  1. Renee September 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm Reply

    Good writing, Sheri! Yes, in our home, we talk and remember as well. Tonight at dinner, we spoke about where we all were and how we felt. I was surprised by Ty’s memory of that day…specific things that he mentioned. He and Tia were both in school, Todd at a convention in Cleveland, and I at home ironing & watching Regis & Kelly.
    Great words by Billy Graham…
    May we always remember…for I too believe it is too important to forget.

  2. Kristin September 12, 2012 at 11:31 am Reply

    Love that you remember, knew that you would. I also love that Samuel asked about it this year. I had no doubt Mary would have known all along and been angry about it.

    I remember that day being the loudest silence I ever heard. I lived in the flight path for Pittsburgh International Airport and the silence was deafening.

    Thank you for sharing with them the story. Thank you and Jim for being first responders. God bless you all!!!

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