“How can you bring children into a world where things like this happen?”
Because of them. The heroes who revealed themselves on September 11, 2001.
The first responders who ran in headfirst to save those that could be saved.
Far too many innocent lives were lost that day. How many more would have been if not for those men and women?
I can honestly look my kids in the face and tell them that we live in a good world. That we live in a world of love and courage. I can do so because when everything fell apart, those people came together and rushed in where angels feared to tread.
In one of the darkest moments of our nation’s history, they became the light we desperately needed.
It didn’t matter what tribe they called their own. Men or women. Democrats or Republicans. Christians, Jews, Agnostics, or Muslims. They came together as one, and they set an example every one of us should strive to emulate.
When my children ask me to tell them about heroes, these are the first people who come to mind. Not the brightly costumed characters I’ve loved all my life. Not the celebrities or athletes who’ve attained the monetary success that most can only dream of. The boys can respect their stories and the causes they choose to use their platforms to represent. They can admire their talent and the joy they get from watching their performances.
For actual honest-to-God heroes though, I’ll point them to the first responders who answered the call that day. Ordinary men and women who became extraordinary when they were confronted with the real-life nightmare that played out before them. The men and women who risked never going home again so that the victims caught up in that horror might.
So again, how can we bring children into a world where days like 9-11 happen?
Because we have heroes. Because we have proof that love and courage are real, and those qualities can’t be snuffed out by those who choose hate and fear. If anything, love and courage only shine brighter when things are at their darkest.
I’ll tell my boys about these heroes. I’ll show them that they can find others like them all around. In the firehouse up the street, the hospital on the other side of town, or the precinct standing right by the park I take them to play at. I’ll encourage my boys not just to honor those who sacrificed their lives for others that day, but also those who are prepared to do the very same today for us. I’ll do everything I can to help them understand and take to heart the lesson those heroes taught us that day; love is more powerful than hate, and we are never stronger in the face of fear than we are when we stand TOGETHER.
These are the heroes my kids deserve. The heroes ALL our kids deserve.