Today marks the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001. Up until now, my oldest child, Jennifer, who turns 10 next month, has not been made aware of the full extent of what September 11th means. She only knows it is a day her mom lights a white candle, cries a little bit and takes time to reflect.
She also knows it was a day that happened while I was still pregnant with her.
But up until now, she did not know what September 11th was.
Today, I told her. After 10 years, I felt it was time. As a child born that year, after that event, it was time for her to know.
When I explained to her what September 11th was, a mix of emotions washed over her face. She was shocked that such a thing had happened to our country. She was in disbelief that there are people, terrorists, who hate America and brought their hatred to our country on that day. She was saddened to hear that so many people died on that day. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost on 9/11/01.
I told her about what happened, but I would not allow her to see any of the pictures. I would not allow her to watch the shows on TV remembering that sad day. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that. I could not expose my child to that.
I still remember the shock and disbelief I felt on that day. I did not know about what had happened until after both of the planes crashed into the Twin Towers. An online friend I chatted with on the computer told me, “You need to turn on the news.” So I did. And I could only stare, in shock, at what I saw. I was horrified to watch the Towers collapse, knowing there were more people dying in that collapse.
I watched all of this ... and then I looked down at my very-pregnant stomach. Where my baby was safely growing inside. I remember looking at that stomach and thinking, ‘How could I bring a child into this world now?’
Was this the kind of world I wanted to bring a new life into?
I really struggled over these emotions. Why bring a child into a world that had such evil people? Where there was hatred so strong, lives were being taken away?
I talked with some online friends about this. It was really a difficult situation for me.
But even still, 10 years later, I remember what one of my online friends said to me that changed everything. She said: “Who knows? Maybe your child will be someone to make this world a better place.”
I thought of that today, during my conversation with Jennifer. I was reminded of it after something she said. She said, “I love everyone.”
I looked at her and asked, “Even the people who hate Americans?”
“Everyone,” she answered. “I love everyone. We should all love each other.”
My heart lifted when she said those powerful words. Maybe there is hope for this world yet.