I was curled up in bed in a nest of books with my little ones around me when my mother called. Living in a tiny cabin without electricity in the mountain, this was how we usually started our days- without television or news or internet, but with stories.
"You'd better turn on your generator or whatever you need to do to see what's happening on TV!" I had no idea what she was talking about, what was behind the fear in her voice. Something about planes and buildings. I didn't know what it had to do with me in my happy little world, but she was upset, so I obliged.
The TV usually only came on with the generator for an hour or so every few days- timed so I could run laundry while one kid napped, another one watched PBS kids and I tried to get online. I was never a fan of watching news and the negativity it brings into my home even when I had an unlimited supply of electricity. I certainly wouldn't choose to endure starting a loud, gas guzzling generator that was older than me just to feel I was up to date in the world. But with the urgency of her voice that day, I did.
My Boy Child was still a baby, oblivious and happily playing. My Girl Child was not even three herself, but had always been a thoughtful child tuned in to others around her. Sensing something was wrong, she stayed attentive and close.We both stared at the tiny screen in shock as the video replayed a plane crashing into a smoking skyscraper. The announcer rambled something about the number of people working in the building. It was astronomical- the number of people that were in that building was higher than the population of the entire county we lived in.
She only had one question. "Mama, were there any children in that building?"
All I could say was that I hoped not. This was the exact reason I chose not to normally watch TV. Now, at the young age of two and a half, my girl had this image in her mind.
When the buildings fell, I expected that the death toll would be in the tens of thousands, and could hardly believe that it was less than 3000. Of course that is still huge and tragic, but I couldn't help but be in awe, and I still am, at the massive coordinated effort it must have taken to evacuate and save so many people.
I've never been to New York city, but its reputation doesn't generally make one think of words like "friendly," "neighborly," or "kind." That's what makes it even more striking to me. Even in big cities full of strangers and terror, the world is full of very good people. It gives me hope.
Ten years later, my kids don't remember the day the Twin Towers fell, but in looking back, I hope they too will have that sense of amazement, not just horror at the atrocity, but wonder in the bravery of their fellow humans. Goodness is everywhere and it will shine, even when things look bleak.
We were all touched by this video and these unsung heroes, everyday people who literally helped save the day. I thought it was well worth watching, and I hope you do too.