Ten years ago today I had just had a baby and my mother had come to stay with us. That morning the newborn was crying, my two-year-old needed breakfast and my oldest was waiting to leave for kindergarten. It was a time of new beginnings.
Then the world suddenly turned on its axis and everything changed.
While my mom fed the two-year-old and I bounced the crying baby, I turned on the tv for my kindergartner to watch a cartoon before he left for school, but there were no kids shows on, just news. In my new-baby-fog I couldn't quite figure out what was going on. And then I caught the announcer saying the Pentagon was on fire while I watched the picture of a smoking building. I called to my mom to tell her what I'd heard. It still wasn't sinking in, but we watched in stunned silence as the story unfolded.
I don't remember getting my son to school that day, I don't remember if we continued watching the news as the baby cried or if we shut it off so the other kids wouldn't know what terrible thing had just happened. I do remember feeling so confused. How had this happened and what did it mean now? I can only imagine that was how many felt as they watched their country, the most powerful in the world, so crippled by a handful of extremists from half way across the globe. What now?
Today that newborn is a happy ten-year-old girl getting ready to play her first soccer game of the season. The two-year-old is in her second year of middle school with an obsession for the Twilight series. And my kindergartner towers over me and talks with a deep voice. For them the world didn't come to an end that day. None of their relatives were in that tower and nobody they knew fought in Afghanistan. They sleep in their beds each night with no fear of the world being any different than when the went to bed. Does this mean that we won the War on Terror?
For my family, the world is now a safe place to live and grow. But what about those whose loved ones were taken from them that day? What about those who sent fathers and mothers, daughters and sons to fight this War on Terror and never got them back? Do they see this as a win? Or do they wake up every morning wondering what awful thing is waiting for them?
To them I must say thank you. Your world may never feel normal again, but you made it possible for my children to grow up in a country that strives to keep its citizens safe. Thank you for giving this gift to my children.