Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, please stop for a moment and remember what happened in our country eight years ago today.
I know it’s tempting simply to proceed with our daily lives. We have not been attacked at home since September 11, 2001, and we are all so busy. And unless you make a point to tune into one of the televised memorial services today, you might make it through the entire day without even realizing that anything is amiss.
But family members and friends of the fallen do not have such luxury. Most of them will go through today feeling in some measure like the claw that ripped at their hearts eight years ago is visiting them anew. Take a moment to stand in solidarity with them, to remember the lives that were lost and the ongoing struggle of the loved ones they left behind.
We parents have an extra responsibility. I expect that by the end of the day, I will again confront questions from my seven-year-old son—and this year, maybe even from my rather perceptive four-year-old daughter—about the flag pin I wear today. I will struggle to answer them, as I do every year, as I imagined I would in the days after the attack whenever I placed my hand on my pregnant stomach and wondered if we would ever feel safe again in our then-home just outside of Washington, D.C.
My heart today lies especially with those who gather at the Pentagon Memorial , so close to where I lived in September of 2001. I was present with them a year ago at the Memorial’s dedication and I have come to know some of the people who comprise this community. I wish there was some way to alter their pain today, but I know there is not. Thus I can only offer condolences and a wish that the day pass for them in a way that acknowledges the depth of their loss and promises the hope that some of them have found and others still seek.
As a country, we face many challenges. We must remain vigilant about both our security and our civil liberties, a daunting task but one which we can achieve. As parents, we must educate our children even as we protect them from the most horrible images and truths. And as individuals, we must, above all, do one thing today: remember.
(Also posted at www.UnchartedParent.com)