Posts Tagged "9/11"

September 11 — Not Everything Bad

Dear Kid,

It’s September 11th. And 9/11 is a hard day for me to write about. So I thought maybe I could find some not horrible things that happened on the 11th of September.

There are a bunch of things that have happened over the years that don’t fall anywhere near the category of “horrible” which I think is worth focusing on.

In 1773, Ben Franklin wrote “There never was a good war or bad peace.” That might be the theme for September 11 and a good lesson for us all to remember.

Stephen Foster’s “Susanna” (of banjo-ed knee) was sung for the first time September 11, 1847.

1875 brought the first newspaper cartoon strip. Its decedents make getting up in the morning palatable.

In 1883, James Cutler patented the postal mail chute. How cool is that? It had never before occurred to me that someone invented and patented a mail chute. I think James was probably inspired by Oh Susanna.

In 1906 Mahatma Gandhi began using the term “Satyagraha” to describe the non-violence movement in South Africa. Ben Franklin cheered. The first moshav in Israel was settled in 1921. Mahatma cheered. In 1954, for the first time, Miss America was crowned on TV. It was Lee Meriwether and a lot of people cheered.

Make today a good day, kid. Make it a day worth cheering for (even if you only cheer silently in your head).

Love, Mom

September 11, 2001–We will never forget

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9/11 | We Remember

9/11/01 We RememberDear Kid,

Writing about 9/11 is hard for me. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was in our family room, talking on the phone to someone who was at the airport. He was telling me that his flight was delayed—something about a plane flying into the World Trade Center. It didn’t make any sense. It was so outlandish that I was sure he was mistaken. We went on with our conversation.

It wasn’t until an hour or two later when I was driving to a meeting and I heard the reports on the radio that I even began to get some idea of what happened. It was still hard to believe. It took a long time for me to truly understand that something had gone terribly, horribly wrong in the world.

I know people who died that day. I know people who might have died that day had their schedule been just slightly different. We were changed that day, as individuals and as a country. As the towers fell, as the reports came in from Pennsylvania, as we learned about the crash at the Pentagon, things shifted in a way, a personal way, we couldn’t have imagined a day earlier.

We talk about remembering all sorts of tragic events. Of never forgetting. But for many of us, those events are in the past—somewhere further than our own memory can stretch. We remember of the event, not being in the event. We weren’t there that to live through the day, the month, the year. We do our best to honor and respect those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, in the tsunami, in the riots. We do it out of a sense of duty and an understanding of the historic importance, but not out of personal memory. For me, 9/11 is personal. That’s why it’s so hard.

I know you don’t really remember 9/11. And I’m sure what you remember is more tied to discussion and the commemorations at school than the day itself. That doesn’t mean it isn’t real to you—it’s just real in a different way. I hope you never, ever have to experience a tragedy at a personal level like that.

For all the people whose lives were cut off far, far too early, for the official first responders and the unofficial responders who lent a hand where they could, for those who lost friends, family, coworkers, loved ones. We remember.

Love, Mom

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