For years I have sought to shield you from the harsh reality of what happened on a clear, sunny early autumn morning sixteen years ago this September 11. When we go to the airport and you ask me why we have to wait in long lines and take off our shoes and go through a machine before getting on a plane. I always told you it was “Because some bad men did a really bad thing with airplanes years ago” because I told myself that a nine-year old should not have to trouble themselves over complicated affairs of state.
Last summer I landed a new job which has had me flying across the country with regularity, and I know that scares you. It scares me too, but for different reasons. The other night we had a talk about “leaving people with kindness” and I told you some more of the story of 9/11. I explained to you that because bad men had flown airplanes filled with fuel into two large office towers in New York on 9/11 years ago, over three thousand mommies and daddies did not get to say good bye to their families and they never went home to them. I asked you to consider how you would feel if you knew that your last words to daddy or me were in anger over something as trite as a broken bagel. As you dissolved into tears and told me you did not want me to die, part of me immediately questioned my wisdom in telling you more of the story. I wanted to make a point to you though, just in case one of my flights eventually does not make it home, that we must all strive to leave one another with kindness.