They could have ridden the bus, but the moments spent with my teen boys were precious. So each week day I drove them to school. This particular morning was typical . The boys were still barely awake and the conversation consisted of brief bursts and were light in nature. I glance at the clock: 8:45 a.m. I smile; we are not pressed for time and I am filled with this blissful contentment to be blessed with these moments with my kids each day. Joy found in the simplest task. That exact moment is etched deep in my mind, but the depth of it was not realized until later that morning.
I drove home in silence, the realization of my perfect life still welling within me. As I walked in the back door I felt compelled to turn on the television. I hesitated, knowing I had a list of chores to begin. But I grabbed the remote as my youngest walked into the room; he was home sick. We plopped down on the sofa. There was no point in searching through the channels, we were frozen by what was unfolding before our eyes.
It was a plane. Hitting one of the twin towers. We sat listening in silence for some time trying to gauge its verity. A discussion between us begins. The digging for a simple solution of how a pilot could inadvertently make such an error ensues, but abruptly stops. Another plane. It can’t be. And another not answering to the calls of air traffic control. Another missing. Hijacking? This isn’t happening, not here. Not on our soil.
My mind tries to get a grasp on what I should do. How do I proceed? Is there something I must do now to protect my kids. I’m comforted to have one here with me, but what of the other three still at school. I must put unimaginably deep trust in other adults in this instance. We are, after all, in this exact moment in the same place, worried about those we love who are not standing physically near us. Praying for those who are being directly affected; more deeply hurt.
We continue to watch it all unfold, hoping that the voices we’re hearing will explain a valid, coherent reason for this mayhem. My son sighs, rises from the couch and moves across the room with a disgusted, yet strong, purposeful gait. “I’m done listening to this”, he states. The rest of the day he asks what the current state of things are, but remains to stay on track creating a relatively normal day. He’s alert to it, yet does not resign to what effect the hijackers want to occur.
Yep, we are going to be okay. I hear it in his words; in his actions. The youth are experiencing this at such a vulnerable time; before they are emotionally ready. Yet, they know what is required; pick up and move on. Take what you already know, what has happened and just live life a bit fuller than before. That which has occurred cannot be taken away and changed, but we can find a richness in life we were taking for granted. We can walk with purpose; strong and proud. We cannot make reason of it, but with determination life and dreams will continue in spite of this hatred used to try to divide and destroy us.
That afternoon, as I headed back to pick up the other boys, I did not drive in silence. I kept the radio on; still hoping the voice would give reason to all this chaos. The air seemed different. There was this unseen connection between myself and all the drivers on the road. I was not passing by them within a small increment of their separate life, but in a shared, deep moment that has changed all of our futures, our thinking, and deepened our unity. Collectively we were all in the same mental and soulful searching moment.
Most of the conversations beyond that day, 9-11, seemed to be directly and indirectly related to it. There were threats at the boys school; a day they didn’t attend due to one. Even a threat at my husband’s office that sent them scampering outdoors and the authorities investigating. Through it all the boys seemed focused on what was important. Picking up the pieces. Their frustration was not what one would think. It was not their individual future, not their own safety. It was about not being close enough to ground zero to give a helping hand. It was worries about those lives lost, those who lost or were seeking for loved ones, who were trying to pick up the pieces, and who were tired and haggard from the tasks they were undertaking. It was about aiding us all to move forward together; leaving no one behind in body or spirit.
Yes, we, as a nation, were certainly going to be okay. Because our youth do not dwell on hate and revenge but are driven to step up to the plate when our country is in need. They feel compelled to heal the hurt, then move forward with purpose. They are resilient. Inside them is a deep pride and conviction for our red, white and blue. They are not only our future, they are our foundation.
~The pride of America within our children’s hearts has them easily belting out the lyrics in Debbie Clement’s song, “Red, White and Blue”.
red, white and blue,
I love you
Sing for our country
March for our country
Clap for our country
Thank you for our country
America brave and true.
Debbie wrote this song just days after 9-ll. A few years later, she wrote a book by the same title (An Indie Excellence Award Winner!) and filled it illustrations of her beautiful quilt work. You have a chance to win a signed copy! Just follow this link to find out how: Win a copy of “Red, White and Blue” (Drawing for winner to be held on 8/17/11…That is THIS Wed…so hurry and get over their to get your name in to win this award winning book!)