Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 : 15 Years Ago, and a Son Who Is 14

On a Tuesday 15 years ago, we had just found out we were going to have our third child. It was a week of good news, the Thursday before, after a months long job search, my husband had found work and now we were ecstatic to know we were adding another to our family of two boys.

Then, that same day, we watched as the whole world did along with us, stunned and knocked to our knees, at what was happening on TV screens across America.

The devastation was certain, we saw it before us everywhere we looked. We heard it on every radio station, a plane had hit the Twin Towers. Then, a second plane followed. What was unfolding as a terrorist attack on America was something that didn't seep through to where it would make sense. We saw flames, black clouds of smoke, we heard of screaming and terror and none of it settled in as news. What we saw was numbing hell. And we stared, unblinking, as a third and fourth plane were reported. What was happening was done in intent, to us.

The videos were everywhere, and the atrocity was nothing that anyone could turn away from. To be sure, I never forgot about this new baby to be that I held inside of me, but the knowledge of his existence will forever be braided with the scenes of 9/11 on that day.

That is so much like life: the devastation of September 11 so quickly responded to and covered in love from the heroes who rushed in, the citizens who came through, agencies that stepped forward, clergy, firefighters, priests, health care workers, America gathered up its people and loved on them in a way that Americans do. That is something else I will never forget, too.

Our son is now 14, he tells me he learns about 9/11 in school. This day is mentioned every year and heads are bowed in remembrance of lives lost. But it's history to him. He has seen pictures, the kind where he can't believe that what he sees in them, is real. I tell them they are, I sat with my hand on my stomach when he was still inside me, and with his two small brothers at my side, unable to move or cry, and I remember it all.

To the survivors of 9/11 and the families of victims, Obama said: "Even as you've mourned, you've summoned the strength to carry on. You've done your best to be a good neighbor, and a good friend, and a good citizen," he added. "You remind us there's nothing that Americans can't overcome."

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