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?