Monday, May 2, 2011


This morning, over breakfast, Erik and I were talking about the death of Osama Bin Laden.We'd seen the news last night about it, but had turned off the television before the President's address, so I was hazy on the details. Erik had read about it online in morning and was filling me in on the details. The girls were eating breakfast, too, and Lindsay asked, "Who's that?". She's only just begun to be interested in any sort of national/local news so I started to explain in as kid-friendly as a way as I could.

I asked her if she'd ever heard of 9/11.

Her answer, "Yeah, it's a date."

That's when it hit me. She wasn't even born yet when the two towers went down. Heck, I don't think I was even pregnant with her yet. I might've been, but I can't remember that part of that particular day. I can remember driving to work and turning on the television to see the news. I can remember sitting there in horror as I watched one of the most impacting day in the history of our country unfold.

When I went to New York a few years later for a friend's wedding, I went to see Ground Zero, and I can remember standing in front of that fence looking at destruction still there. And even now, when we travel, I can remember what it was like to do that before. See, for me, and anyone else old enough to realize what happened on that fateful day in September, we have a certain perspective. We can remember what life was like here before 9/11. Our children will never have that perspective. Sure, we will teach them about "bad guys" like Bin Laden and about how awful terrorism is and that there were two really tall buildings in New York that came down after a couple of airplanes crashed into them. We can teach them the facts, but that's all. How do we portray to them why this "dead guy" is such a big deal? Why we even hunted him for ten years?

See, the sad thing is, that she has never known anything different than now. She will never know what the skyline of New York City looked like with the two towers. She will never know what it was like to fly without taking off her shoes to go through security. She will never know a country that isn't on alert to any possible terrorist threats. And up to now, she's never known anything different than having friends' fathers deployed to the Middle East.

Or is it sad? Maybe she's better off already having all those things as "normal". Maybe she's better off not having to had watched/lived through 9/11 and see her country change around her. Maybe she, and others of her generation, won't have to go through anything like 9/11 because they will already be "on alert". Maybe she's better off not having our perspective--not knowing how it was before.

What do you think?


  1. My daughter and I had that same discussion this morning and I had the same thoughts. I was talking to my sister last night about it and she said she was only 18 when 9/11 happened so she didn't really feel like it impacted her life that much. I was pretty shocked because, like you, I was completely changed by it. I remember sitting for hours holding my kids and crying in front of the tv but I couldn't shut it off. I remember reading everything and anything I could get my hands on about these new terrorists and our new world. It definitely left an impact on my life but you are right. This is the only life they have ever known be it for the better or not. It's hard to explain to someone who didn't feel that impact just how deeply it was felt and how it changed everything. I guess, in a way, this was our generation's JFK. I think the only other day, historically speaking, that I feel impacted me as much was the day the Challenger blew up with Christa McAuliffe on it. I remember sitting in first grade crying and Mrs. Kimble was crying and running out of the room. I hope to not see anything so life changing as 9/11 ever again. I hope my children never have to be impacted in that way. I think the death of Bin Laden has both positive and negative impact for us all. I am left to wonder who will take his place and what kind of terror will they bring? So, it's a bittersweet day for me.

  2. great read Kendra. I was just talking to some friends the other day that we basically have a whole generation of children that has never lived during peace time. We have been at war so long, that it is normal to them. This is a fact that I dont care too much for. However, while the changes that were made after 9/11 ie travelling and safety precautions are noticed by us, to the new generation, its normal. Its no different than our parents relivin the good ol days and tellin us boring stories that we will never understand because the world is totally different!!

  3. Hi Kendra. As you so rightly point out, to many of the younger generation, Bin Laden was the guy who changed our society, particularly in the west and yet their lives have not been impacted in the way the older generation has. I feel that it is good to talk about these things with the kids because you can use these situations to compare with the impact that Jesus has had on society and the world and he lived 2000 years ago! There are many other examples you could use, both good and bad, to show how society has changed over the years. Once you've done that, you can show how your kids could have an impact on the lives of others by the things they say or do.


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