(Photo sent from my mother-in-law with the caption, "Don't miss this stunning view across the river where many tall office buildings in Arlington are draped with flags honoring 9/11")
As the anniversary of September 11, 2001 has been approaching, my two oldest children have talked repeatedly of the event. With information gleaned from a grade-school,'Children's Weekly Reader News' Luke has been sharing all sorts of information (and opinions) about that historic day. And just as Megan's jr high principal hoped in a school wide parent email, Megan of course came home and discussed her thoughts and feelings following the 9-11 assembly they had on Friday.
I complain too much sometimes about my children talking way too much and non-stop, but the last couple of days, we have had some great conversations about that dreadful day. My children ask if we are going to watch the same online video we watched last year, or the year before, or look at some still photographs, or read a news story together. We probably will.
One of the articles in Luke's little magazine starts out, "Ask any adult what they were doing on the morning of September 11th, 2001 and they can likely tell you..." Of course my children take that literally (because silence is an anomaly around here), and asked me. Even though I think we share these same stories every year, it is our little family's way of trying our best not to forget.
Megan, though just shy of her 3rd birthday on that fall day almost ten years ago, recalls tidbits of that day with absolute clarity and accuracy. She clearly remembers the 'broken buildings', and I tenderly remind her of her bedtime prayer the evening of September 11, 2001.
"Please bless the broken buildings and the people that cried and died."
(Megan, September 2001)
Luke, six weeks shy of birth at the time, loves his little 'personal' connection to the day.... And so as the magazine suggests, I can (and will) likely tell you...
On September 11, 2001, I was just waking up, and as was habit back then, I turned on the Today Show to begin my day with Matt Lauer and Katie Couric. Of course immediately, I knew something was terribly wrong, and almost simultaneously, my brother Casey called to tell me the news. I quickly ran into our adjoining home office to tell Mike to come and watch. One of the towers collapsed as I hopped in the shower to make it on time to a doctor's appointment.
I had had a routine ultrasound almost two months previously, but between the combination of Luke's hand close to his mouth, and a prominent upper lip, the doctors were slightly concerned he may have a cleft lip and wanted me to have another ultrasound. I really never thought twice or felt a twinge of worry about Luke's lip, what I did feel a little concern over was whether or not he was still the little boy I wanted. (I wanted a boy so much, I had some kind of weird paranoia that he would turn into a girl.)
I remember laying on the ultrasound table while the technician covered my stomach in goop, discussing the tragic events of the morning. Another clinic worker came in and announced to us that a plane just went down in a Pennsylvania field. Probably in a state of shock and grief at the uncertainty and newness of such enormous tragedy, (not to mention pregnancy hormones) I (embarrassed to admit now) turned to the ultrasound tech and said, "Please just tell me my baby still has all the boy parts."
I still have the ultrasound photo with a little arrow that says, "STILL a boy."
I laugh and smile at this memory now, but as I shared with Megan last night, the news story that showed 'Babies of 9/11' ten years later, I cried. Babies that were born within weeks and months of Luke that don't know their dads.
It's all just plain sad.
Even ten years later.