Sunday, September 11, 2011

True Sacrifice

For the last week, I have been on a media diet.  I do not need to relive what happened 10 years ago.  When I think about it, I don’t wish to share much since it sounds selfish.  I had graduated from graduate school, I was looking for work after an actor’s strike/pending writers strike in Los Angeles.  The job hunt wasn’t going well and I had flown home to see my family in Chicago.  My parents were returning from a trip as well and we met in a very open Chicago Midway Airport.  The eating area had just been remodeled and had samplings from some of the best places in Chicago.  I remember Mom’s statement of how great it was going to be and exciting it was since the renovation was complete.  Days later that would mean that no outside travelers would ever use that area again.
It was a Tuesday morning.  I know because mom had bowling and so I was to drop her off, take the car back home, clean up and then return for lunch and ladies afternoon out.   It was when was turning onto the street I grew up on that I heard that a plane had crashed through one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  I pulled into the house and snapped on the tv, since it felt very War of the Worlds hoax-like.  I quickly showered and drove back over to be with my mother, where a screen had been flipped to CNN and the goings on.  I can’t remember much more than that like where I was when I saw the towers fall but I do recall the thought that I would never find the job I was seeking.  Perhaps that statement rings true today-we’ll never know.
People talk of sacrifice and how over the last decade we’ve been at war, and I wonder how many people really know someone who has served or defended our country. I have only had one person I’ve lost, a classmate from college.  It was 2008 and my birthday.  I was grousing about how I didn’t have a family of my own and I was getting so old at 34.  I then got a text from a friend saying Gary had died from an IED in Afghanistan and all of a sudden, it hit me how young 34 could be at the same time.  
My sister in law will probably never write of this and I can’t do this story justice but the idea of sacrifice comes to mind that a four year old can often be an example more that any adult.  The question of how do we teach September 11 in schools has been one of the repeating themes in what little tv I have allowed myself to see this last week.  My sister in law teaches in an urban choice school where she teaches K4-four year olds in kindergarden.  The school she teaches in, takes a trip every year to the firehouse to teach about 9/11 and show appreciation for firefighters.  Each student is encouraged to give cards or take small gifts to leave when they go to visit.  My sister in law said one of her students a few years back, rushed back to the cupboards before leaving for the field trip and grabbed her baby doll.  She told my sister in law, her teacher,  she just wanted to hold it a little while longer because when the time came to give gifts of thanks to the firefighters, this four year old gave up what was probably one of her few dolls.  My sister in law said she and the other adults could barely hold back tears on that one.  And on a day of reflection and remembrance, I always think of a little girl giving up a baby doll to thank a firefighter for putting their life on the line.
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