A friend who is a few years younger than me had mentioned that she would always remember where she was that day, and I thought how old we sounded because that’s one of those kinds of things old people say….”I remember the day….”
But I do too. I recall exactly where I was~
In bed in my little off the grid cabin in the mountains with a baby and a toddler curled up beside me. My mom called in hysterics telling me to turn on my generator and see what was happening on TV and something about people blowing up planes and buildings. I could tell it was urgent to her, so even though I was a little annoyed to leave my cozy nest and go outside because I didn’t know what it had to do with me, or what I was suppose to do about it, I dutifully got out of bed, went downstairs and out of the house, yanked a chain until my arm hurt and a motor fired up and I had electricity in my house to connect to the world and see what was so important.
I turned my little 13” TV on and the first thing I saw was a plane crashing into a building. While I’m standing there confused and wide eyed, my barely 3 year old daughter, who apparently saw it too asked “Mama... are there children in that building?”
Today, I came across a post from a schoolteacher who talked about teaching his high school students about 9/11~ what led up to it, the politics going back to Jimmy Carter and why the hatred. But the thing that struck me most was what he said about the people jumping from the towers.
Like 200 of them.
I guess maybe I knew one or two had, but I had no idea the number was that high. I was also surprised by how long it all took between the crash and the fires and the collapsing~ my view from my tiny TV made it all happen so fast, and I hurried to stop my little ones from seeing or hearing anymore about it, but for the people there living it, the fires were burning for over an hour and a half with people trapped inside.
So today I’m pondering while my teenagers sleep in just how I want to talk with them about this part of it.
In years past, I’ve shared stories of helpers, like the ferry boat captains who helped people out by water, and the dogs who rescued people~ stories of hope.
We have a young friend who has a September 11th birthday and another friend whose wedding anniversary shares the day. We usually think about them and the good things that happened in the world on that day.
But today I feel like I need to say something about the people who were trapped inside those towers for so long~ to remember that it wasn’t crash, boom and over for them~ they were crowded in extreme heat and flames and smoke so they couldn’t see or breathe~ it was so horribly long and had to be terrifying~ enough so that some people had to jump, if nothing else so they could breathe one more time in the ten seconds while they flew a hundred stories to the ground before it ended in an instant.
It’s gruesome and awful, but that’s the story I feel like I need to share with these kids today.
I don’t know how or what I’ll say, because how do you talk about something that awful?
In some ways it’s always like that with hard topics. When they were little, I shielded them from violence and towards solutions, but now they are too big to shield. They have access to media I don’t always like, some of it is with senseless made up violence, and that makes seeing and hearing about the realities of violence feel even more important to me.
They still need solutions, but sadly I don't have them. I'll just do my best to share what feels important and hope I don't scar them. Those people and their story deserve to be remembered...
If anyone has words of wisdom, please share. Otherwise, at least wish me luck.