Our family seldom travels by air, but recently Daddy had to fly to Ohio for a convention. During that time, a realization of how terrorism has affected the children of America really hit me.
We remember 9/11. We have spent time talking about it, watching the news reports, the annual reflections that air each September since then, and pray for the families of all those affected. We did not lose friends or family in the Twin Towers. We did not experience the horror of knowing someone who died that day. We have, however, been touched by the events of that day.
Our five year old spent two days not wanting his Daddy to go, two days of prayers and needed affirmations that Daddy would not be flying with “bad guys”, and too much time not being able to concentrate on school, because he was worried about Dad reaching Ohio safely. Then, the wondering and worrying continued into the next day, as Dad returned to Texas. He gave a big sigh of relief and thanks to God when Daddy arrived safely back at home.
Our children have been touched by the grief and terror of evil as a result of 9/11. They will remember it forever.
We had an opportunity a few weeks ago to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial. So many lost their lives that April day in 1995, due to the senseless explosion of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Although one man’s vengeance, it became the nation’s grief. Our sons weren’t even born then, but just the visit to the site, added to their memory of 9/11, brought unbelievable wisdom and understanding to their young minds.
Even as a child, they understand the horror it must have been to be near the building. They understand that many people died. They understand about the fence that holds a cross and bell for each one of the children who died that day, and who used to play in the playground behind the fence. They understand that a “bad guy” was so mean, that he did not care if 168 people died, and many others were wounded.
It was truly humbling to see our five year old, deep in thought, walking through the memorial, looking at the lighted chairs containing the name of each person who died that day, and realizing the impact of it all. About half way through the memorial, he stopped and asked if he could pray. We all joined hands and listened to him pour his little heart out to God in thanksgiving for putting the “bad guy” in jail.
Further down the trail, past the children’s memorial area, our three year old was also touched and asked if he could pray for the children. Once again, we circled up, and listened to his heavenly requests.
I realized that although we as parents had brought them there, both of the boys were not led into deep conversation about the event. We did not spend much time telling them about the details. We certainly did not expect their young minds to comprehend what all happened, but somewhere along the way, they truly understood.
The five year old slowly put his arm around his brother, and walked…silently, in reverent respect, and in understanding.