“On that terrible day, a nation became a neighborhood, all Americans became New Yorkers.” – Governor George Pataki
I will never forget where I was when I heard the news about New York on that chilly September afternoon in Naples, Italy. I was very young and had no idea what was going on. I had just come home from school and was playing with my friends while doing homework and suddenly the news came on. It flashed onto our TV screen along with an alarm. We all sat in front of the TV watching the towers fall one by one. Unexpectedly, the naval base alarms went off and the entire base was on lock down in Naples, Italy. No one was to leave wherever they might me at that moment in time until told otherwise.
Was this really happening? What’s going on? At first, I thought to myself this couldn’t possibly real. This wasn’t happening back home. But sure enough, it was. In that split second, we knew that this was going to be bigger than we could ever imagine. The next day at school, there was a great deal of sadness that came over all of us. My parents were never really the same after that day. Everything was about safety and making sure that I was doing everything I could to protect my little brother. Our school security changed, the naval base security changed as ID’s were required wherever we went (even us children), field trips off base without parents were rare, friends’ parents were being stationed stateside sooner than expected; nothing was the same.
What does 9/11 mean to those who are too young to remember the attacks? What does this day mean for those who will only hear about the attacks? This day will be the day that tragedy hit our nation, however we will always be able to tell our children and our grandchildren that this is the day that America lost so many people near and dear to our hearts, but they will never be forgotten. This is the day that allowed knocked our country down, but we were strong enough to get back up and overcome it all. This is the day that we came together as a nation to help one another in our battle against terrorism. This day is an important day as it is a reminder to all of us to be grateful for what we have each and every day as some of us lost everything on this heartbreaking day.
In honor of this day we need to make certain that our children;
- Practice safety and caution – Alert your children to be aware of their surroundings. Take precaution when riding the bus, crossing the street and walking around the neighborhood. Converse with them the importance of our law enforcement and why certain safety measures are taken at their school/airport. Allow them to recognize that as scary as things may be in this world, there are people who risk their lives for their safety every day.
- Talk about it – Take the time to explain to them how this day makes you feel, what you remember (the good and the bad) and tell them what this day means to you. They will be nothing but grateful to hear what you have to say.
- Educate them – Educate them on the events that took place on this day. You may not get to explain every single detail just yet but make sure that they know how monumental this day is to our nation. There are books about this that explain just enough for children to understand.
It’s been 14 years since the tragedy hit our country and we’ve managed to come together as a society to rebuild what we lost, especially when it comes to the safety we once felt before that fateful day. Things will never be quite the same it was before but we can only hope that with time our country will soon regain that sense of safety and assurance from all of the new laws and security enforced across the nation. I couldn’t be prouder to be an American on this day.
Where were you on this tragic day? What have you learned? Do you feel like we’ve rebuilt what we lost or close to it? Please leave your comments below and tell us about what you remember on this day as we pay respects to love ones near and far that have been affected 14 years ago.