No doubt there will be plenty of blog posts in the next several days about THAT DAY. I'll just add mine to the list. Eight months pregnant with my first baby. I wasn't under teaching contract that year, just subbing, and I had chosen not to work that day. I took the morning to walk (waddle) at the park near the Houston on Champion Forest Drive. I was wearing hideous and uncomfortable maternity work-out clothes. I headed to Wal-Mart. There was a teaser on NPR that a story related to education that was coming up. Then there was a break in the coverage. My first selfish thought was to wonder if this meant the education story (which sounded interesting) would be delayed or not done. Information at the moment was unclear and the official line was still "accident." I went in to Wal-Mart where strangers were asking one another, "did you hear?" By the time I got back to the car, the second attack had occurred. And the third. Then a fourth plane went down. I drove to the temple, where Plantboy was working. We watched the towers fall down on live television, stunned and horrified.
I felt my dear boy squirm and kick inside me and I wondered just what kind of world I had brought my child into.
Ten years later, and now I know. As in any time, it is a world of sorrow and joy. Of good and evil. Of contradiction. Of growth. Of learning to seek out and hang on to what is best and pure. I hope I have taught that baby those things. For even though nobody he would have known died that day, he is a child of September 11th too. Who will these post-9/11 kids become? This thing that has come to define their generation has left them in a world filled with war and contention and conflict. In the immediate aftermath, even two and three years later, those tower images would frequently fill the TV. With his still-baby voice Jedi Knight would ask about it. I would tell him. Now I sometimes hear my history-loving boy talk about that day as if he has a memory of it. Does he? Or does he just carry the archetypal image in his head somewhere? Did those images burn so horribly into his mind even as a young child that he is part of our collective consciousness too?
October 2001 wasn't just a game changer in our family--two weeks to the day before my son was born, The US army invaded Afghanistan, where it has stayed and fought the longest war in our history. The day he was born the iPod was announced in a press conference. His will be the generation of war and information--two things that can bring people together or disconnect them entirely. I hope he will be a man who builds bridges, who is filled with compassion for others, and will learn the lessons of THAT DAY even though he had not yet entered the world.