Blue Skies, Smoke, Remembrance

In 2006 and 2007 I wrote a tribute about Peter Freund, a New York firefighter and father of four who lost his life on 9/11 along with so many other men, women, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, sister, sons, and daughters.

Off and on yesterday I thought about that day and how difficult it had to be for the families who lost loved ones. I work for a small business publishing company and was in my first few months of employment on 9/11. I was pregnant with Miss C and driving in to work when I first heard the news reports. One of our clients, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, had office space near the top of the South Tower and lost 67 members of their firm during the terrorist attacks. We all left work early that day and although I did not know anyone who died that day, several people I worked with did.

Last week we were watching a special on PBS about the World Trade Center towers and how construction of skyscrapers and safety regulations have changed since that horrific tragedy. The girls were still up and Miss C was sitting in the hubby’s lap. Most of the show featured interview snippets with the main architect of the Trade Center towers. And then there was a short clip from the first plane hitting the building and that horrible image of smoke against blue sky that no one can forget.

Miss C gasped. “Oh my gosh look at that plane! That plane hit that building!”

She paused a moment and asked, “Did people get hurt? Did people die?”

The hubby told her yes, they did, but many people were OK.

She thought about it some more, trying to mentally grasp what she had seen.

“That plane was a mistake?”

It was a half question, half statement.

I don’t think either of us had the heart to tell her no, that it wasn’t a mistake. That it was intentional.

So we remained silent and as 6-year-olds are apt to do, she got distracted by her little sister and she never mentioned it again.

MetroDad posted a beautiful tribute to a friend yesterday (thanks to Y at Joy Unexpected for linking to it.)

7 comments

  1. Amy says:

    Shark Boy (6) heard a bit of a news report on the radio (thankfully no video) yesterday and asked me about it. He has asked us a lot before about the war in Iraq – where the Middle East is, what our soldiers are doing over there, why there is a war, etc… (He doesn’t watch the news, I swear!) So he kinda knows general things – including that there are “terrorists” who are bad people who started a war with us. When he asked yesterday, I told him that the airplanes were flown by the terrorists (I did not mention any passengers) and the planes crashed and killed some people in New York and that was how the war started.

    He knows more than I would like…

    Amys last blog post..That Day

  2. Hunter says:

    I did not have a child when the planes hit the buildings, but even way back then I knew I’d have to explain it someday. Regardless of what I end up saying when my daughter’s old enough to ask, I know that to her, it’ll be like Pearl Harbor day or the Kennedy assassination to me—something historically important but unfathomable to those who didn’t live it.

    I don’t know how I’ll convey it to her, but hope she never has to learn what it felt like on that day.

  3. Amy says:

    Aaron was 5. He went to work with Brian that afternoon. Of course the T.V. was on. He asked what had happened. A teenage worker told him rather bluntly what had happened before Brian had realized it. When we look back at the Kindergarten journal (all the students kept one at school) there are page after pager after page of pictures of the American Flag. Somehow he got the unity of the Nation afterwards in his mind. We explained to him what had happened. He also had to have a copy of “Where were you” by Alan Jackson. For a while that song came out everytime he heard he would ask about it. Evan knows what happened, more from Aaron asking questions over the years.
    I remember the bright beautiful clear blue sky that morning driving to work. Before I knew what had happened.

  4. BRidgett says:

    No. Sophia was 3 months old when it happened. I was awakened by my brother’s panicked phone calls. We don’t watch TV (we watch DVDs—plenty of them, just not network TV and we don’t have cable) so it hasn’t really come up. She knows all about the MLK assassination from school last January…but they haven’t broached this. Neither have I.

    BRidgetts last blog post..Ok, but it’s actually good news

  5. Lisa says:

    I’ve never talked with Goosey about it. It still seems too deep and dark….something that we all wish was a nightmare.

    Crazy how that day is still so fresh in all of our minds, isn’t it?

  6. Urban Mom says:

    We went to Starbucks to get a big coffee traveler and cups/napkins, etc to take to our local police station. I explained to Urban Kid 1 (5yo) that this was the day that we do something nice for our firefighters or police officers. She asked why. I said because bad things happened on this day seven years ago. She wouldn’t let it go (what? what??? tell me, please? please?) But I refused. I just said that a lot of people got hurt, that not all stories need to be told. And that we remember how lucky we are to have our emergency responders out there.

    At some point, we’ll need to figure out how to tell them. I’m ok with putting it off for now, though.

    We’ve made friends recently with a set of parents, both of whom are pilots. They’ve no idea how they will someday explain it to their kids.

    Urban Moms last blog post..Happy 5th Birthday, Urban Kid 1!!

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