Explaining the Unexplainable…

It is easy for me to say that September 11, 2001 was one of the most profound days of my life. I remember getting up that morning to get ready for work and turning on the news. I lived in California at the time and it was really early in the morning. I watched as The Today Show hosts talked about what seemed to be a tragic accident in which an airplane crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I then watched live as the second plane hit and knew everything was somehow different now. I instantly knew that something was very wrong.

My oldest son was only 19 months old on that day and I remember not wanting to drop him off at daycare. I wanted to take him back home with me and crawl into bed and hope that it was all a nightmare.

How do you explain a day like that to a young child? How do you explain such evil to anyone?

Sept-11_Perspectives

When Austin was six years old, his school was going to celebrate “Patriot Day” which prompted our conversation. It was the conversation I had been preparing for, yet dreading for 5 years.

Austin: Mom, what is National Patriot Day?

Me: Well, it is a day to remember what it is to be an American and to honor some special people.

Austin: So is it like the 4th of July?

Me: Sort of. The 4th of July is to celebrate our country's birthday.

Austin: Oh, so what people do we honor on patriot day?

Me (realizing I need to just tell him about 9/11 before he hears it on the news and gets confused): Well, back on September 11, 2001 something happened. You were just a baby so you don't remember it. Some very bad men took over some airplanes.

Austin: What do you mean, took over?

Me: They took control of the planes away from the pilots and started to fly them by themselves.

Austin: OK

Me: Those bad men then crashed the planes into two buildings in New York called the World Trade Center. They also crashed one into a building in Washington and another one crashed into a field.

Austin: Why would they do that?

Me (tears coming to my eyes): I don't know Austin. I wish I did know. See these people don't like America and they wanted to hurt us. The two towers fell down and a lot of people on the planes and in the buildings died. It was a very, very sad day.

Austin: So Patriot day is about honoring those people?

Me: Yes, it is about honoring those people and their families.

Austin: Then I guess I better pray for their families on Patriot day. I bet they miss them.

Me (about to completely lose it): I think that would be a very nice thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *