Monday, September 11, 2006

(Still) Mourning In America 

Five years ago today I ran the media center at a private boarding school. When the kids started streaming in, I turned the theater projector to CNN, and we watched together as the world crumbled around us. It took an hour before I could bring myself to turn off the cycle, speak softly about the difference between news and spectacle, and send them back to their counselors and dorm parents, and I still wish I had thought of it sooner.

Five years ago today my friend and co-worker Chris Carstanjen took a flight to California to visit a mutual friend. It wasn't until three days later that I learned I had spent the morning watching his plane smash into the World Trade Center, over and over and over again.

Five years ago I had no children of my own. Somewhere in the months that followed, we conceived our first child, and though we had been trying for years by then, I'll never know if creating life then and there was, at least in some tiny way, part of our healing process.

Today at school the intercom crackled at 8:46, and I stood before a group of kids and bowed my head in a moment of silence. I wanted to think about Chris, and I did. I wanted to think about my own children, safe in the car with their Mama on the way to Willow's first day of preKindergarten, and give thanks for thier innocence and grace, and I did.

But mostly, I thought about how my students were seven year old suburbanites on 9/11, and how little they really understand pain.

Five years ago today I lived in another world, like the rest of us. Then the world changed, and we're still picking up the pieces.

Thank God for a new generation. May they never know the horror firsthand.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:50 PM |

Thanks for this post. You mention how little our students understand pain, because they don't remember 9/11. It reminds me of something that one of my students asked me a year ago. He asked if I thought there would ever be 9/11 sales. 9/11 sales? There are Pearl Harbor Day Sales, right? There are Veterans Day Sales, right? I sure hope there are never 9/11 sales. I appreciate your acknowledgement that as teachers it's our responsibility to help our students understand national pain.

Andrew Pass
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