I’m not certain what this image conveys about what we teach our children. Like many people on this date, my thoughts return to 19 years ago and a photo we took of our 6-1/2 month old oldest son sitting next to a TV with the image of the Twin Towers burning real time. One of those iconic things one does in an attempt to capture a moment in history, which we instinctively knew it was.
So my thoughts turned this morning to the orphans of that event. These children are what comes after 9/11. Gabriel was born six days after the death of his father. They are the joy, the salve, the ointment. They’re the love.
“I could only imagine how much courage someone could have to go into a situation like that,” says Lauren, who was born less than three months after 9/11. Her father died after running into the South Tower to save others.
Ronald lost his dad at the Pentagon while his mother, Jacqueline, was five months pregnant with him. (She was working on the other side of the building during the attack.) A high school basketball player, today Ronald Jr. wears the number 33 on his jersey, the age his father was when he died. “I feel like my dad is watching me,” he says. “Every move I make, he’s here.”
Robyn was born seven weeks after her father died. She says the loss has given her a different perspective from her peers. “I’ve always been aware of the world. The world should be a place where it’s okay to be who you are, and to love whom you love and believe what you believe. Underneath, what we’re made up of is the same.”
Allison’s father was on Flight 11, traveling to be home for his daughter’s imminent birth – has learned that her sadness is also coupled with happiness. “There’s always an empty spot.”
Sadly, death is a part of life, no matter how that death happens. At this time, there is a lot of death all over the planet and the terror of never being certain if one will be infected with this virus and lose their own life to it.