“Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It’s a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. But not only of loss and mourning. It’s also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend–even a friend whose name it never knew. “
- President George W. Bush, December 11, 2001
Ten years ago the people of New York and Washington were waking up to start their day. Parents bustling about preparing to go to work; early September and the children were now getting settled back into the routine of returning to school. However at 8:46 a.m. and again at 9:03 a.m. the lives of approximately 3051 children changed forever. Earlier that morning nineteen hijackers had taken control of four commercial airliners destined to fly west to California. The terrorist chose flights scheduled to fly long distances for they were heavily fueled. The events of that day forever changed America; forever changing the lives of these children who lost a parent.
Losing a parent is never an easy experience for anyone to go through regardless of one’s age. Losing a parent tragically such as on this day can have lasting impact on a child so young as to not fully understand or able to accept the fact that their Moms or Dads will never be coming home again. Unlike adults, children regrieve at each developmental stage and with each stage comes new questions and often new sorrows. Recently CBS aired a special of the children of 9-11 and it was this special that is the inspiration of this post.
One young man who was around eleven at the time who had lost his Mother that day life was suddenly turned upside down. Leaving him confused as to why, angry that the one person who loved him unconditionally was never going to walk back in the door again, never going to be there to offer words of encouragement or be there to guide him when he drifted off the path, loosing his way. Soon after that day he was up rooted from the surrounding in which he had grown up and moved to the town in which his Mother had grown up to be cared for by family. Grief is individualized, meaning it has many stages such as confusion, emptiness, shock and yes…anger. It was anger that eventually overcame this young man as he rebelled, got in fights at school, started hanging out with gang members, selling drugs his life in utter turmoil trying to come to terms with the grief he was experiencing. Fortunately for this young man as he was able to over come the anger and vowed to live his life to honor the memory of his Mother. He is now married and has a family of his own and plans to plant a garden on the site of his Mother’s childhood home to honor her memory.
It was for another young man the memories of his Dad that made him withdraw into himself. Bottling up his emotions. He felt that his grief was far greater than that of his younger sister because she was so young at the time and had little recollection of the man they knew as Dad. He found solace in going to a camp especially for the children of 9-11, it was there that he could find others who shared the same feelings as he and he stated that he never wanted to leave the camp and that when he got older he wanted to work there. He felt a peace that was indescribable.
Families of September 11 was founded in October of 2001 by families impacted by the terrorist attacks. Their mission is:
To raise awareness about the effects of terrorism and public trauma and to champion domestic and international policies that prevent, protect against, and to respond to terrorist acts.
They offer a variety of services which include; support resources for children, wellness, health issues. To donate to this group you can go here
We must never forget this day that changed America, a day that changed the lives of so many of our young. It is our duty to remember the men and women who lost their lives on that day that started out like any other day before. The firemen who selfishly made their up the towers to attempt to save lives, the emergency first responders who bravely sacrificed their life to make a difference to someone in which they didn’t even know their names only brings to mind the word, hero…It is how so many of the children who lost a parent that day lovingly remember their loved one. Let’s once again be a nation that turns to God and look for his comfort to help us through the trying times in which we live. The world changed on September 11, 2001…we must never forget.
God Bless America