Bean Boy was pointing to a flag at half mast. "Why," he said, "is the flag like that?" It wasn't long before I remembered why. He had heard bits and pieces of the story over the years, but never the entire unspeakable truth. I was too tired and emotional to let the battles of "they are too young" and "they need to know" play out fully in my mind... so I told them the story. I told the children, even my 5 year old, about how there are people who hate our beloved country, and freedom. I told them how they hate us so much, that they planned a horrific attack and rejoiced in our innocent men, women, and children being murdered. I told them about the first plane hitting the tower. I told them how clearly it will stick in every American's mind as to where they were and what they were doing when they found out; how Bean Boy was 4 months old; I went to the gym; we got his pictures taken; it was raining.... all the details still there, even in my fuzzy brain. I told them how nobody knew what happened. Was it an accident? A plane out of control? Until.... the 2nd tower was hit. We, all of America, watched in horror on live TV as the second plane hit the tower. The mystery was no more! My first words at that moment were, "We are at war." Have you forgotten?
I told my kids the story of the third plane. I told them how all day long for several days we were glued to the TV watching the news. Praying. Wondering what else? Then I told them the story of the heroes on the fourth plane; a little bit about Todd Beamer and Let's Roll. At this point, I could no longer contain the tears. My voice quivered. My sweet, sweet children just couldn't understand. They won't, until they experience something similar. God forbid. I told them that the heroes were brave, they had heard about the other 3 planes and decided they would fight, and try to save another building full of people, and that they crashed their own plane. I told them how firefighters and rescue people ran into the buildings people were running out of, because they wanted to rescue one more person. I told them how people were jumping out of the towers, plummeting to their death. Have you forgotten?
Then, these sweet, innocent children of mine, asked me a hard question. "Mom, can we watch it on youtube?" Sigh. We watched about an hour's worth of clips of that 2nd plane, the plumes of smoke, the crying people, the response of the newscasters as the second plane hit, the terror, the awe, the shock, the horror.... it was all there for them to see. They still could not truly comprehend. My son was tearful and solemn. The girls were quiet, and concerned about the tears I shed. Each video revealed a memory, a thought, a feeling I have so nicely tucked away in a safe place; all freshly renewed, relived. Have you forgotten?
I did also tell them, while this was a horrible, horrible act, there was something good that came of it. Our country was unified. We cried together, prayed together, grieved together, and got angry together. We stood together to pray during the search and rescue time, and during the time of enduring clean up. It was surreal. I distinctly remember hearing that word over and over again....surreal. Have you forgotten?
In my thankfulness journal today, I would like to record that I am thankful for not having forgotten. I am thankful for such a grand, amazing country and that God put me here. I am thankful for freedom. I am thankful for what we stood for on that day 11 years ago. I am thankful that I can share this with my children, and that they don't remember it for themselves. I am prayerful that our leaders will preserve our freedoms. I hope that the memories live on as an inspiration for all of us. I hope we are inspired to not be complacent, to be on guard for our rights and freedoms, and to be vigilant to protect our country and families always. This is a fabulous place to be. We are so blessed. Have you forgotten?