We told my daughter today

September 11 2008

For the last couple of years, I've struggled with what to write on September 11.  

Last year, I said nothing at all, because, well, it feels at times like it's all been said already.  But as an American who was profoundly saddened by loss of people I had met and worked with, along with people I had never met who simply were living their lives, forgetting isn't an option.   I don't forget being on a conference call with an IBM sales team; I don't forget trying to figure out how to watch the TV coverage without freaking out the cleaning service in my house at the time.  I definitely don't forget the tone in my friend Karen's voice when she called to tell me to turn the TV on in the first place.  It's impossible to forget how many Sametime pings I had that day, just from people "checking".  And I can't forget the first time I saw a plane in the air, three days later, thinking how weird it had been for a major transportation mode to cease to operate.

This morning, my daughter was in our bedroom when the TV coverage from Ground Zero started.  She's six, and I've never discussed the events of 9/11 with her before -- too young, no need.  But looking at the hole in the ground, the new memorial at the Pentagon, and the images of twisted metal, the topic was there before her eyes.  My wife and I tentatively tried to put some words around the question forming in the six year old eyes -- what am I seeing?  What happened?  We explained, in simple words, what did happen, and how it was a sad day, and that we'll never forget.

In telling the story, though, it wasn't all doom and gloom.  Though she doesn't understand it yet, I was able to express one positive about 9/11 to my daughter.  My daughter was born June 4, 2002, a week or two early.  This morning, in addition to talking about what happened on 9/11, I told her, "It was a sad day, but one good thing came out of it -- you".

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