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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why are you crying, Mommy?

"Why are you crying, Mommy?"

A blurred image of an innocent, yet concerned face was staring back at me. I had tried to hold my composure, but sometimes emotions have a way of sneaking through the tiniest cracks. 

"Mommy feels sad today."

The steady murmur of now infamous news clips are narrating my somber demeanor, much like I'd imagine the drone of helicopter propellers in a war zone. 

My bones are chilled and my knees are weak, as I am consumed by memories of the initial stabbing shock and terror. Memories of the day 9/11 became more than just a date on a calendar. Memories of the day we learned just how vulnerable we are. All American social classes, races, religions shared the horror together. Feeling human. Attacked. Bonded by grief.  Together as one. Heroes, victims, and helpless bystanders. United, raw bleeding emotion fused us together as we all asked why...and we all knew how. 

How do you explain such a terrifying event to a child? A child you are put here on earth to protect. How do you make them feel safe, while teaching them the gruesome history? A product of an evil I do not understand. 

Perhaps I struggle, because my own security and remaining innocence was stolen this day. I was 17 and still, for the most part, shielded from such terror and panic that this incident created. Many of us grew a million years older in an instant. And for some, that instant grew them wings. 

"Mommy, but why are you crying?" 

"A lot of people went to Heaven on this day because of a horrible thing, sweetie."


"Mommy doesn't know why. It makes me sad, and that's why I cry." 

She looks at the TV and sees images of the WTC just after impact. Those images that are burned into our brain for a lifetime. 

"Is that what happened?"

"Yes, honey."

"Were there kids in there?"

Tearing up again. 

"Yes baby. There were kids. It was a very sad day." 

My daughter looks deep into my watery eyes and I can tell she feels my sadness. I see tears forming in her young, pure, inquisitive eyes, reflecting the pain I am feeling. 

I held her close and we shared a moment of understanding and prayer. 

In that moment, I didn't want to let go.

"...for those of us who lived through these events, the only marker we'll ever need is the tick of a clock at the 46th minute of the eighth hour of the 11th day."

President George W. Bush 


  1. Still one of the saddest days I can ever remember.

    1. Absolutely. A tragedy that will haunt our souls forever.

  2. A marker in history for so many of us. You shared a powerful memory and explained the pain and sadness so well to your daughter in a way she could understand. Well done.