Talking To My Children About 9/11
Today is September 11th. A day that all of us will remember for the rest of our lives. But what about the people who weren't around that day? It's hard to imagine that someone alive today missed 9/11. But all three of my children, Chase, Carly, and Cayleigh were born after September 11th, 2001. So while they might know today as Patriot Day from lessons learned in school, its still important for kids to hear about today from people who experienced it first hand.
So what do you tell children about 9/11? I would imagine it depends on their age. My children are 16, 12, and 10 years of age. Chase may have questions about things that I wouldn't feel comfortable addressing with Carly or Cayleigh. But I think it is important to be honest with kids too. Don't sugar coat it. That day changed our nation and world forever. Let them know how. Acknowledge who was responsible for the attack, but explain that a handful of bad people shouldn't stain an entire religion. Talk about the planes. The towers. The Pentagon.
Tell them about the heroes. The police, fireman and first responders who ran into burning buildings to save people who were trapped hundreds of feet above them. Explain to them their sacrifice, and what it means to give your life trying to save another. Tell them about the passengers on United Flight 93 who overpowered terrorists and downed the plane in a field in Pennsylvania. Explain how their sacrifice saved even more lives.
Show them the video of President Bush with a megaphone on a pile of ruble at ground zero. His arm around a firefighter, comforting a nation that had been suckerpunched. Telling us all that the people who did this, would hear from all of us soon. Tell your children about how our nation came together. There were no political parties. No red or blue states. Just the United States. A feeling we sure could use more of today.
But most importantly, tell your children that despite all the bad things that happened that day, evil didn't win. Unity won. Love won. America won. In our darkest hours, the brightest lights come to shine. Let them take that lesson and carry it with them forever.