My daughter is 10. My son is 6. And while they have certainly heard about the World Trade Center and terrorism and tragedy, they haven’t been exposed to the awful, nightmarish, disturbing, disgusting reality behind the moments of silence and tributes and such. Are we right in protecting them? I tend to think so—there will be plenty of time for Casey and Emmett to realize the world is, often, an awful place. Why rush things?
Today, however, I took my children to the city and, after piddling around (Jackson Hole, Grand Central, Union Square) we visited the 9/11 Memorial.
I didn’t know what to expect. From them. From me. At the time of 9/11, the wife and I loved on 15th and Third, not far from the Twin Towers. In the days and weeks afterward, we smelled the rubble, read the flyers, lived the nightmare, volunteered to help. It was awful beyond awful beyond awful; the worst span of my life, times 100,000,000. Although 9/11 enters my head fairly often, I usually try and push it out. Just too … too … yeah. Just too.
I digress. My kids and I entered the memorial. We looked over some pictures, checked out the fountains. I explained—in simple terms—what had happened; what I’d seen and experienced. They walked around, felt the metal railings, soaked in a few of the sights. “I’m hungry,” my son said. “Can we get something to eat?”
With that, we left.
It was a start.