Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12th

The words below are a repost from two years ago. On the 10th anniversary of this tragedy, I find that I just don't have any words. What I said then was true, everything is going to be alright. And yet, for so many, the world will never be alright again. Today my heart breaks for the innocence we lost as a nation, and most of all, for the people who lost fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, neighbors, and friends. God bless us, every one.

If you are teenager or older, you can tell anyone who asks exactly where you were eight years ago yesterday. It's one of those moments that has passed into history in the same way that we remember Kennedy's assassination, the space shuttles, the moon landing... We all know exactly where we were when the towers fell.

I wrote about 9/11 last year, and I don't think I can say it any better now. Instead, I want to write about September 12. You see, we all remember 9/11. We mourn. We cry. We say the Pledge. We lower our flags to half mast. We feel sad and vaguely lost all day long. And all of that is as it should be.

And then we wake up on September 12 and we do what needs doing. Just like we all did eight years ago. This year we talked about 9/11 and then I read an amazing book to my class. It was written by a class of first graders, and it's called September 12th. The book says this:

September 12th was a new day. We knew everything would be all right. because...
the sun came up and
the birds started to sing again.
We knew everything would be all right because we had homework.
2+2 still added up to 4.

We knew we would be all right because our parents said they loved us.
Isn't that the truth? Here's what I told my students this year:

We've talked already about what happened eight years ago. We've talked about the heroes, we've talked about courage. We've talked about how important it is to be the kind of person who is willing to do what is right, no matter what it costs you. You know all those things. But, before we are finished, I want to talk to you about September 12. That's a very important date in American history, too.

You see, that was the day that we all knew everything was going to be alright. And, here's how we knew.
On September 12, firefighters and police officers all over the country went back to work, still ready to face a burning building. Doctors and nurses and ambulance drivers, some of whom hadn't slept yet, all showed up for work. Ready to help. Mommas and Daddies woke up, made breakfast, got their children dressed, took them to school, and went to their own jobs. On September 12, teachers all over the country met their students at the classroom door with a smile. Ministers went to visit people who were sick and hurting and confused. Friends called each other, made play dates, spent time together. People laughed and cried and hugged and ate dinner. Just lived. Like we always have. Like we always do.

If you want to know what a hero is, I'll tell you. A hero is a person who does what needs doing, no matter what. But, a hero is also a person who lives through something terrible and gets back up the next day and does what needs doing. Even if what needs doing is as boring as cooking dinner or doing the laundry. Heroes aren't only people who run into a burning building. Heroes are people like you. And me. And your parents. People who wake up every day and say, "I'm going to do the best I can with whatever comes my way. I'm going to do what needs doing. If it is homework, or chores, or grading papers. And then tomorrow, I'm going to do it all again."
Happy September 12, my friends. God bless us all.


Sweet Tea said...

Thank you for your words.
You are absolutely right.
Thank God for each Septemer 12!

Jennifer Richardson said...

This feels heaven-sent to my heart;
thanks and much love,

Marilyn said...

Yes, there was an innocence lost that day 10 years ago. Sad!

christinelaennec said...

What a wonderful post. I will remember this! Thank you, Relyn.

Tracy said...

Just beautiful, Relyn... very inspiring! I think you've put into words so well what we are all feeling right now. It seems unbelievable that it's 10 years on already... Sometimes it's like it just happened, the feelings are still so raw... And after some time, it's still all so unfathomable. So much has not been the same since. Love is the greatest healer though...With love burning bright, it soothes the rawness, soothes the heart & mind, soothes the world...I didn't watch all the commemoration programs. I lit candles, prayed, then did things as usual :o) ((LOVE & HUGS))

Amy said...

Oh, I love this ... so true! It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, "A hero is a person who does what he can."-Roman Rollard

cristie said...

this was an important reminder. thank you.. xox

the wild magnolia said...

I like your take on heros. I am thankful your students are learning we are all heros. Self confidence based on good strong character traits, is what carries us through life, that and our personal beliefs.

Thank you for sharing, thank you for stoping by for a visit.

GraceGal said...

Oh, Relyn. This is absolutely beautiful. Well said and so true :)

Jeanie said...

We can't forget and it has all been said. I was glad to see September 12 arrive.

HKatz said...

A hero is a person who does what needs doing, no matter what. But, a hero is also a person who lives through something terrible and gets back up the next day and does what needs doing.
Yes. Yes and yes.

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