Most people don’t know my 9/11 story, I don’t share it. It is not a pretty story, but for some reason I need to write it today, eleven years after the attack on our safety and security.
We have our own personal 9/11. On October 3rd 1999 our world was shaken as the murders of our family crashed into our home via a phone call. Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, Scott and Joan had been murdered. They were shot while in their home on October 1, 1999. In that moment our world changed. My sons were only 7 and 10 years old. They had met the boogie man. Danger did not live under the bed and it could not be scared away by mom and dad. The world was no longer safe. OUR world was no longer safe. Horror and shock and fear and great, great sadness filled our world. We had to learn to move forward. Forward through investigations, autopsies, memorial services, and eventually an arrest, trial and conviction. My sons moved through it all with grief and the high spirit of male children. They grieved in their own ways – silent sometimes, tearful sometimes, questioning sometimes. We all grieved but we also lived. We still had moments of laughter and shared lots of stories about those we lost. These were not abstract losses of distant loved ones, but the loss of two very important people – grandparents, parents, caregivers of my boys when my husband and I both had to travel on business at the same time – loved and loving family members.
Then, less than two years later, we had moved and were just getting settled in a new state, a new home, new schools and new friends when 9/11/01 happened. There are lots of stories of watching the horrific happenings of that day, but my personal story is of my youngest son. He sat on the couch while as a family we watched the recap and continuing story of the attack on our country, our safety and our sense of security. He got tears in his eyes and when I hugged him and asked him about his feelings his response at age 9 was “I know just how all those families feel…”
That is my 9/11 story. We had lived this sort of loss of security before. We had lived this sort of violence before. We had lived this shock and disbelief before. We had lived this hurt before. We survived. We are determined not to let the “bad guys” beat us. We are braver, stronger, and more determined than some because we have lived this sudden, senseless, violent death of people we love more than once.
And that young boy, my son? He has chosen to serve his nation and to protect the freedom and security of others in the US Army, yes we are all stronger than we could have believed possible.
That is my 9/11 story.