9/11…Now What?

September 12, 2006

Five years ago today, I sat in front of my television in shock and watched as the second plane hit the World Trade Center. I remember feeling out of breath, dizzy and slightly sick. I also remember feeling scared. Very scared. As I watched the events of the day unfold, I remember wanting to cry, but was unable to.

Oh, the tears came, but not for months.  

September 11, 2001, was a day that changed our lives forever and I struggle to make sense of it all, not only for myself, but for my children.

Just two months after the terrorist attacks, I went to Sacramento to visit with Erika. I bought tickets for us to see a comedian that happen to be one of my favorites for years. I couldn’t wait to introduce this “comedic genius” to Erika and her husband. That night, he failed to entertain. He was bitter and angry about the terrorist attacks, and all he did was lash out at the audience with racial slurs. I was very uncomfortable and apologized for such an incredibley uncomfortable night.

Today, I got one of those forever forwarded emails with the subject line reading “9/11”. I opened it. The email named one of the terrorist that crashed into the World Trade Center and said that he was currently with one of the 72 virgins he was promised. Then attached was a picture of a heavy woman laying atop a very skinny man and all you could see were his legs.

I didn’t think it was funny.

The reason for my ramblings are many. For example, I want my children to understand what happened on September 11, 2001, but how can I make them understand when I really don’t understand myself. In the past five years I’ve witnessed racial hatred, religious intolerance and the stripping away of our rights, as Americans. But how do I explain that to my kids?

So, fellow Mothertalkers, how have you explained the events of 9/11 to your kids? Or if you haven’t yet had that discussion, do you plan on talking with them? What points would you highlight? What is the right thing to say?