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9-11 Through My Children’s Eyes

Rescue Workers Search Through WTC Rubble
Getty Images/Mario Tama

My son, Ryan, was only 10 months old on September 11th, 2001.  My daughter, Jenna, was three-and-a-half.  I realized recently how differently they see 9-11, especially my son.  

Like many other Americans, I watched the events ten years ago live on television.  There are still moments captured like video inside my head.  Jenna remembers very little and Ryan has no memory of 9-11 at all.  He knows the overall story, but is just beginning to realize the individual heroism and the sacrifices made on that day.

Ryan watched a 9-11 story last week on television about a man who could have easily escaped the World Trade Center, but instead spent his last moments on earth escorting others from the towers.  He told me how the man helped a woman who had fallen and lost her glasses.  How she was the first person he rescued, but he went back in to help others.  Ryan seemed amazed at the story and in awe of how heroic the man had been, ultimately losing his own life when the buildings collapsed. 

Neither Ryan or Jenna experienced first hand the emotion of that day.  For both, it’s a little like Pearl Harbor is to us.  We’ve read about it and looked at pictures, but the true feelings of the day are difficult to put into words.  For my generation, 9-11 is a memory, but for my children’s generation it’s something they’ve just heard us talk about, watched on television or were taught at school.

Personal stories are so important.  Survivors recounting how they escaped, a hero that may have pulled them to safety or a sacrifice someone made brings the emotions of 9-11 to life once again for future generations.   

I’m hoping my children will someday understand the magnitude of 9-11, how we all felt and how it changed our lives.  I’m also hoping they’ll realize how strong America is and how our country pulled through and moved ahead despite fear and tragedy. 

God Bess America… and all of us who love this country so much.

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