Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 - What Do We Do Now?

To all those reading this, I wish to extend my sympathies to all who suffered a loss on 9/11/01. It was a senseless tragedy that changed the nation, if not the world, but those who suffered the loss of a family member or loved one either the day of the attack or due to subsequent illnesses as a result of them working at the attack sites have had their lives altered most of all.

If you look out on the street today, things in the country are running at a steady hum. In my own house this Monday could have been any other Monday - my husband went to work, my son went to school - nothing different. Yet, when you turn on the news you see all of the events commemerating the attacks, and you know that even if your daily schedule did not change today the world did. Now, what do we do?

I do have issue with the fact that today is not a Federal Holiday. Even if you did not personally lose anyone during the attacks, many people here in the tristate area fled the city. Those of us at home were nervous about their fate. The day should be reserved for honoring the dead and thinking about what actually happened - some kind of reflection whether it be attending a religious service or just sitting in front of your house with a cup of coffee to catch your breath. Also, for some today is a day wracked with anxiety - they should have the ability to get out of town if they so chose. Now, I know the danger that this could become a day just the other Federal Holidays like Veteran's Day where people disregard what happened and hunger for that 25% off and no interest until 2010 at Levitz, but I think that 9/11 is too recent and raw for that to happen.

My other issue is - what do we teach our children. My son is old enough to start asking questions, and I honestly don't have answers for him that would satisfy me, let alone a curious six-year-old. How do I explain the hatred that fueled 9/11 without spurring hatred in return? Many adults cannot understand that while Al-Qaeda is a group that claims to be for pious Muslims they are not representative of the religion or the people - how can I expect my son to? If he asks why do they hate us, how do I explain to him the convoluted mess that is Middle Eastern politics and Western policies in a way that he could "get it"? There is an alternative - just give him a simple explanation - people were angry so they attacked us - but wouldn't that just scare him further? I am not sure what to do, and hopefully if he asks questions I'll be able to think of something on my feet because God knows I have nothing planned.

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