9-11_002In Remembrance of 9/11/01

We are not New Yorkers, per se, yet we do spend a great deal of time in New York City. My kids love riding subways, PATH trains, taxis, scooters, horse and carriages, gondolas, and double decker tour buses (you get the idea). Therefore, pieces of our hearts are in New York.

As the upcoming ten year anniversary of our national tragedy approaches we decided to take a preemptive approach to my preschooler’s 2011 Social Studies curriculum. Therefore, we decided to bring our children to the WTC and explain some of the events of that day(in as child-friendly a manner as possible) and allow our children to view what they could of the site. So, we discussed how some people commute to work, as we dutifully boarded the PATH at Exchange Place, and headed in.

While on the PATH to the World Trade Center we discussed the events of 9/11/01, how daily lives were affected, and the current progress being made at the site now. We told our children the truth. We taught them a bit about terrorism and about some of the people we know whose lives were changed forever that day.

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I was surprised at how difficult it was to discuss such a day with my preschooler. He has seen some still photographs from that day, and has prayed for those whom we know who passed, but we had never taken it further than that before. But again, I have to say; the little guy amazes me time and again. Sadly, he has known people who have died before, so the idea of death is not new to him. When I tried to explain how many thousand people died his eyes grew wide.   With it, a whole new barrage of questions came.   I guess I should have seen it coming, but I was blind-sided as he hit me with more in-depth questions than I imagined possible from such a peanut. I answered the best I could, and when I was without a clue I simply told him the truth, “I don’t know. No one does.”

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I did my best to paint a picture of hope and pride for the heroes and innocent lives who received their angel wings that day, without instilling fear or hatred in his heart. I know the little bit I told him choked me up a few times, and as we were talking I heard someone quietly come up behind us.  I know he had been there a while, listening to our little dialogue, because I heard him praying the Our Father aloud with my son. When I turned to leave and to apologize for our verbal intrusion I noticed that he was laying a single rose next to the lit candles that remained where we had previously been standing.