Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Reflecting on 9/11, then & now September 12, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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In remembrance of 9/11, photographed last September 11 in Hastings, Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2018.

 

YESTERDAY BROUGHT TIME for reflection. Reflection upon the events of September 11, 2001, a day which forever changed us as Americans.

 

I reconstructed a tower using the same blocks my then young son and his friend used on September 11, 2001, to duplicate what they saw on television. These are also the same toy airplanes they flew into the tower. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.

 

The terrorist attacks on our country made us feel vulnerable, unsafe and realizing, perhaps for the first time that, just because we live in America, we don’t live in a bubble of protection from those who would harm us.

 

Photographed along Interstate 90 east of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo May 2011.

 

Yet, in the midst of that tragedy, that sorrow, that new reality, there emerged a solidarity. We felt united as a country, a people.

 

On the campus of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, a plaque honors an alumnus who died in the World Trade Center attack. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo July 2019.

 

Eighteen years later I no longer see that unity. I see rather a fractured country. That saddens me. The discord. The political upheaval. Even the overt hatred toward certain peoples.

 

Faribault, Minnesota, firefighters pay special tribute to the fallen New York firefighters on this memorial sign. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.

 

Yet, when I look closely, I see the care and compassion extended by many Americans toward those who need our care and compassion. We have always been a giving nation. I hear the voices of those who speak for those whose voices have been mostly silenced by rhetoric and oppression and policies. We are still individuals with voices that matter.

 

My then 8-year-old son drew this picture of a plane aimed for the twin towers a year after 9/11 for a school religion assignment. He was a third grader in a Christian school at the time and needed to think of a time when it was hard to trust God. To this day, this drawing by my boy illustrates to me how deeply 9/11 impacted even the youngest among us. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

 

That ability to express ourselves—whether through the written or spoken word, in music, in art, in acts of kindness—remains. Strong. We have the power individually to make a difference in our communities, to start small, to rise above that which threatens to erode.

THOUGHTS?

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

13 Responses to “Reflecting on 9/11, then & now”

  1. Moving post, Audrey. We each have small opportunities every day to show kindness in a multitude of ways. We are privileged to live in this world and it is time to share some positive and kind actions.

  2. valeriebollinger Says:

    Thanks for posting about 9/11…lest we never forget.

  3. Wow… that drawing by your little boy is just heart-wrenching! Touching post, Audrey.

  4. Gunny Says:

    Never Forget

  5. Very moving post! There are days that I think to myself are we moving forward or backwards. KINDNESS is all I can say – just be kinder to one another 🙂

  6. This is really heartbreaking! Today’s children and young adults really have no idea.

    • No, they don’t. I expect they will now learn this from history books.

      • Gunny Says:

        Probably not. This was referred to as “a day when somebody did something.” We, as a generation will have to teach who did what, why, when, where and the ramifications to us as a society today and in the future.

        It was a terrible day and I watched it on the first “Big Screen” TV I ever saw in living color much to my dismay with my stomach churning sickness knowing I was helpless to have any bearing on the outcome.


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