Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remembering September 12

For most of us September 11, 2001 is a date that changed our lives. But for my oldest son, the date that changed his four-year-old life was one week before—the day his “B” disappeared.

“B” was his little green security blanket. We had brought him home from the hospital wrapped in it, and he’d been attached to it ever since. Now it was gone.

We searched high and low, then re-searched again and again. He was certain someone had stolen “B”. We then began the search for the replacement. Nothing.

“I’ll never be able to go to sleep again,” he said and cried and cried. I cried too. I felt his anxiety as I imagined the sleepless nights. And perhaps even worse was the fact that in less than two weeks we would be getting on a plane and flying to our new home in London. I wasn’t sure either of us would make that nine hour flight without his “B.”

Just when I was losing hope, he pulled out his little, blue fleece jacket from the suitcase. “This smells like ‘B,’” he said. He wrapped a sleeve around his hand, pulled it across his face and fell asleep. He’d found security once again , and I’d found relief. At least temporarily.

On the one-week anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States my family got ready to begin our trans-Atlantic flight. I’ll admit I was more than just a little nervous. I don’t like to fly under the best conditions, but when passenger planes had just been used as weapons, I was feeling scared. It felt as if our nation’s security blanket had been taken, and we were still crying ourselves to sleep over it.

I put on a brave face. Next to me my son had his little blue jacket. He was set. I wished for a security blanket of my own. I watched him all comfortable in his seat, testing out his tray table. I just wanted to lean over and ask, “Can I borrow a sleeve?”

Now, ten years after “9/11,” it’s still difficult to think back to that terrible day. But the day I do like to remember is September 12. That was the day the healing began in full force. A blanket of hope was already wrapping our nation, woven with the threads of friendship and faith, of courage and kindness. Whether it was firefighters risking their lives or strangers passing out shoes and peanut butter sandwiches, we were bound together with the indomitable American spirit of strength and determination. That’s what makes us who we are.

We still stand now, not only the greatest nation on earth, but also the greatest hope for the world. I love this verse of our national anthem:

Then conquer we must

When our cause it is just

And this be our motto

“In God is our trust.”

May that spirit live on forever in America.

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