What stories are we leaving behind for our children and future generations? This weekend we’ve commemorated the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Across social media and in the popular Alan Jackson song, I’ve heard asked, “Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?” My 9-year-old son interviewed me for a 4th-grade assignment and it was surreal talking about the emotions of that day.
I turned 20-years old the day of the attacks and I haven’t taken a birthday for granted since. The events of 9/11 are a sacred reminder to hug our children a little tighter, keep our friends a little nearer, and pay tribute to the lives lost that day.
An important part of remembering 9/11 for me is remembering the helpers. The firemen, the paramedics, the passengers, the people who donated blood – all of them. I like to think of my own helpers that day, too. My college roommate who woke up incredibly early to make me pancakes for my birthday before I went in to work at 6 am. My newspaper advisors and our secretary who created a safe haven for college students who weren’t emotionally prepared to report on such a devastating day. My good friend’s mom who baked a college girl cupcakes when her own mother was far away. The Applebee’s waiter who couldn’t hide the tears in his eyes even as he worked. There have been and always will be helpers.
I invite you to take a few moments today and write down your memories if you haven’t yet. Where were you that day? What did you feel? What do you remember most? Write it in your journal, post it on social media – you could even do a video. Your children will be glad you recorded it someday!
Why are these stories important? When our children see that we made it through difficult times, it helps them to know that they can too! Just as we can gather strength from our ancestor’s stories, our descendants will gather strength from ours! They want to know how we handled being scared, being lonely, and other strong emotions.
For me, it was a strong support system – good friends and mentors. I learned from 9/11 that I can make a difference in small and simple ways even during scary times. I know I can because I remember all my helpers and all the heroes from that day.
So whatever your story is from that day – write it down, record it, share it. Your story is important – especially to your family!