so they always remember

by Amy

Just as it was, back in 2001…our world stops turning on this day.  While the effects of that day are with us always, we can’t help but take a day off of the normal scheduled routine to stop all plans, and just reflect.

I don’t want my kids to grow up without knowing how important this day is.  I want them to know that is why papa works so hard and why he goes away for long periods of time.  I want them to say littlest brother’s name with pride and thanksgiving for the hero he was named after.  I want them to stop whatever they are doing and stand up straight with their hand over their heart, as if it was as involuntary as their next inhale, the second they hear those first few notes of our National Anthem.  I want them to feel pride when they see our flag and be brought to tears at every American Memorial they visit.  I want them to cheer at the sight of military aircraft flying over head and thank each and every veteran they cross paths with.

I want them to know, that despite all the conspiracy videos or countless blamings and faults that are put on our presidents, that they are from a place where people unite under attack and disaster.  I want them learn and grow with all their travels but to always remember that they come from an amazing country, protected and served by amazing people, who gave their lives for the freedoms we live and love.  I want them to feel the pain of 9/11 in a way that it will never leave them.  So we remember…

We pray. We don’t know them by name but we pray for those who lost loved ones on the flights,  in the towers, at the pentagon or in the rescue effort.  We pray for the terrorists and whatever sin that is in them, blinding them from the truth and growing until it causes pain and loss to others.  We pray for their hearts and minds.  We pray for the military, as they continue to fight and spend time or lives away from their loved ones.  We pray for our president and the decisions he has to make.  We pray for all those 12 and 13 year old’s that spend another 11th of September missing their parent lost that morn.  We give thanks for the brave, both in the air and on the ground.  And we pray for patience and trust as we thank God that his plan is already perfectly laid out.

We read. Because while there is so much pain and so many to grieve, there is also so much to be thankful for and so much good to behold.  We love reading these inspiring books:

The Little Chapel That Stood – A beautiful story of the little church that stood and had a very important job on 9/11.  It is my absolute FAVORITE to read when discussing this day of history.

14 Cows for America – A beautiful story of how countries unite.  Again, brings me to tears and reminds me of how great our small world is.

September Roses – You can order the book here or watch the video (doesn’t show the entire illustrations) here.  Such a lovely, true story of how love and support came in the most unexpected ways.

We create. Coloring photos and illustrating what they hear, my kids have drawn beautiful photos of what they know of september 11th.  Someday, I will compile their masterpieces and make them a book but for now, we store them as if they are great relics in a time capsule.  Either way, they express themselves through markers and crayons and bright white paper.  And it’s amazing.

We talk. My husband and I tell them where we were that day.  Having worked in aviation at the time, we have a semi-unique perspective on the silence that was felt in the days and hours following.  While we hadn’t even begun dating, and really only knew each other for less than a month, he was one of the first people I called.  At the time, he seemed more annoyed or shocked that I was checking up on him/informing him but when I think about our entire story, I am thankful his path intersected with mine and we have that historical moment to share.  Because later, when we were dating, and Bush declared war, he would hold me and remind me that it would all be ok.  And that he wasn’t afraid to be called up, if needed.  I am thankful my kids get to know that aspect of their family history, however trivial it may be.  They feel the depth of today’s history in their own way, when the story comes from a loved one.  Have you told your kids or someone you love where you were that day?  You should.  It’s bonding.

We listen. Music can be a great medicine for a  hurting heart.  and on this day, we listen, really closely, to the words in Alan Jackson’s song “Where Were You” as well as songs about our amazing land.  We love this CD of Patriotic Songs and listen to it in an effort to learn songs that our country was founded on.

We watch. Videos of live footage from that morning to inspiring videos shared on social media, we watch to witness it again.  My kids talked about Karyn’s Wings and The Ground Zero Bible from the History Channel all day today.  We watch to remember and cuddle through the sobs. I am sure some people would believe that I am wrong for sharing some of these images with my kids.  And they may be right.  It may be a mistake.  But in my head, it feels like they can’t know how much it means unless they can see, with their very own eyes, that planes went through iron & steel structures.  Or that people with cameras in hand fled through ashes.  Or that firefighters shared oxygen masks with citizens in need.  I wanted them to see the heros that pulled people to safety as well as the flames that erupted from places they shouldn’t.  We spare the jumping deaths and the bloody gore but we watch and listen to the events as they unfolded.  They see me gasp and shake as the second plane hits or the towers crash.  And we spend time in each others arms talking about how sin takes root in our heart and minds if we let it.  Then we move forward with the faith, hope and love we are so freely given by God, and…

We love. Each other and those around us.  We write letters about nothing and everything, at least making contact with our family far away, to let them know they are loved.  We hug people tighter and longer, we say hello and offer small gestures of kindness.  It feels easy to want to curl up in a ball and mourn but we must force ourselves to look outside ourselves and demonstrate love, because on days like this, love needs to be a verb for people to hold on to.  We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

And we remember. They may be but small…but they will grow and carry with them their past.  Our past.  I pray they share stories, sing songs, comfort others in times of war and offer a breath of fresh air to a stranger in need.  We do this in remembrance and, I pray, for the future generations.

Please, dear readers…tell me.  How do you honor this day?  Do you?  Maybe you can share with me your thoughts.  Please leave a comment and broaden my perspective.  It’s bonding…