I remember growing up hearing my parents and their friends talk about where they were when John F. Kennedy was shot, and when Martin Luther King Jr marched on Washington. They were just words for me. Notions. I didn’t feel any personal connection because they weren’t my memories. Nevertheless, they did color my World.
For my generation it’s 9/11 that we all talk about. We sit around, just as my parents did, and discuss where we were when the towers were hit. Where was I? In front of the TV in my living room watching the Today Show. I remember distinctly the sense of panic and disbelief I felt. Frozen, like a deer in headlights. I wasn’t sure what to do…at first. Then I snapped to, hopped in my car with my infant in tow, and went directly to my son’s preschool to pick him up and keep him close. I remember the utterly unfathomable conversations I had in the street with other parents on the same mission as I was. We talked about where we should go in the event of an attack in Chicago. We exchanged numbers, advice, prayers, and “good lucks. It didn’t feel like real life. It felt like we were entangled in a television drama. It was drama that may have been unfolding on television, but in truth it was as real as it gets. I remember religiously watching Ashley Banfield’s coverage of the ordeal. I hadn’t taken notice of her as a reporter prior to that day, but I have never forgotten her since. I feel tied to her. It’s weird. What’s even more weird is though I lived in NYC twice I didn’t truly take notice of the Twin Towers before 9/11 , but I absolutely feel their absence since.
On 9/11 I was already the mother of two children. My third child was born in 2003. She stares at us blankly when talk turns to 9/11. It doesn’t quite register for her because she is too young to have a definitive connection. That will change as she gets older and advances in school. History will help her form an individual response to 9/11, but it won’t be based on personal experience, (much like my feelings about the events my parents talked about when I was growing up). Just as the choices that I made in my life before 9/11 were influenced by the echoes of my parents’ past, so too will the choices my kids make for their future be influenced by the echoes of my 9/11 .
My wish is that for my children’s children the defining moment of their generation will not be based in violence and destruction, but instead be that of an incredible act of peace and forgiveness. (Now that would be one for the history books wouldn’t it?) I believe that the way we live, the stories we tell, and the memories we help our children make, all contribute to making that dream an intention. That’s why it is so important to me to take my kids to Washington DC and NYC this year, the tenth anniversary year of 9-11. I want my kids to see themselves in the face of our president, President Barack Obama. I want my kids to have the opportunity to see the potential of their future on the walls of every government building, museum, and memorial they visit. I want them to see history. A history that isn’t someone else’s, but theirs personally, because they can relate to it. My hope is that by bonding with the past and the present, my children will be inspired to take ownership of their America, and internalize a deep sense of responsibility for their own future, and the future of their fellow man and woman. This is important because I firmly believe the more regard we have for one another, the more likely we are to give peace our full support.
On this, the tenth anniversary of 9-11, whether in NYC, Washington D.C., Chicago or anywhere else in the World I want all of our kids to remember 9-11 so that they will never ever forget the importance of peace.
Miss Lori can be found Musing from her Minivan at MissLori.TV , Wearetherealdeal.com , YoungChicagonista , ChicagoMomsBlog , and ChicagoMoms.com. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.