It’s been a somber day for Americans. And… with Lara here from Germany… I experienced the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on America with some perspective from another country.
From the time that both Lara and Brittany woke up this morning… it was a day of questions and answers. After all, I now have two teenagers in the house who were just 5 years old when the unthinkable happened. We watched replays of TV News Programs on September 11, 2001… minute-by-minute as it unfolded 10 years ago. Today, they saw the same thing. It was difficult for me to watch. My husband didn’t want to see it. Brittany and Lara were glued to the TV.
They asked where I was when I found out, how I felt and what I did. Lara says she remembered her mother crying when it happened and seeing the pictures but not much more. Brittany says she remembers her father watching it on TV while I was at work. At that time, I was a Producer at a Phoenix TV station and working very long hours for several days after the attacks. What they both understand is… how it changed our world forever.
I thought it was important to both girls to bring them to a place where they could reflect on the events that happened that day. The best place to do that in the Phoenix area is in the City of Tempe, home to Arizona State University… and this weekend… home to nearly 3,000 American Flags tagged with each person who died 10 years ago on this day. You can read about the event here. http://www.tempe.gov/events/healingfield/
The girls were quiet as they approached the flags. There were so many. They slowly started reading the cards attached to each flag, giving the victim’s name, age, where they died, where they worked and a brief line or two about their life. They weaved in and out of the rows and rows of red, white and blue… quickly realizing how real this was….especially when you put a name to each victim.
They were touched by the flags representing children… with a teddy bear and tiny flags on the ground. And the blue ribbons on the flags of crew members of the planes that turned into weapons that day. And the boots that rested at the bottom of the military personnel who died at the Pentagon.
They felt pain and sorrow…. for the couple who was headed to their son’s wedding in California… for the man who died while attending one of two meetings a year at the World Trade Center… for the child that was going to Disneyland for the first time… and for the two sisters whose flags were next to each other.
They learned about Todd Beamer just before we left home. When they found his flag, they clearly remembered he was aboard United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in a Pennsylvania field… and his last words were “Let’s roll” before he, and several other passengers, stormed the cockpit in an attempt to fight the terrorists and take control of the plane.
When I asked Lara how she feels about being in America on such an important milestone and experiencing the emotions of such an important day, she said it was certainly a special day and something she will never forget.
Lara says she believes it is important that other countries, like Germany, support Americas fight against terrorism because others are also prone to future attacks. She says we must all stand together. Six Germans were killed in that day. And today, Germany showed its support by remembering the victims. http://www.thelocal.de/national/20110911-37517.html
Our family had a trip planned to Washington DC and New York City… even before we knew Lara was going to be our Exchange Student. We’ve been looking forward to our children experiencing the Memorial at Ground Zero and at the Pentagon. Now, it will be a special experience for a German teenager as well.