So yesterday I headed to the basement and started digging through totes in search of building blocks and toy airplanes. I found the blocks, but not the planes. Those I discovered later while rummaging through my son’s upstairs bedroom closet.
Ten years ago, on September 11, 2001, my boy was only seven years old. He was home from school that day, not feeling well, when my husband phoned with news of the first plane crashing into the first tower.
I switched on the television. Typically I don’t have the TV on during the day and would not have known about the terrorist attacks until much later.
From that moment on, I could not take my eyes off the screen even though I worried about exposing my son and a younger boy in my care that day to the news coverage. How would they react? And did they truly understand the gravity of what was unfolding in our country?
I attempted to explain the situation, to tell the boys this was “real” and not some television show. They continued playing with whatever toys they had out at the time—I can’t recall.
But clearly they were listening and watching, for soon the two pulled a box of wooden building blocks from the toy box. Then they pulled out the toy airplanes.
I watched as my 7-year-old and his friend constructed teetering towers, then smashed those miniature planes into the towers. Blocks tumbled across the living room carpet.
They repeated the action: Build the towers. Fly the planes. Smash the towers. Build. Fly. Smash.
I could have cried over the loss of innocence—mine and theirs.
WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL memories of September 11, 2001? Please submit a comment and share your story.
© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling