“Let the Living Let Us In Before the Dead Tear Us Apart”
Everybody talks about what they remember on September 11. I remember walking my kindergartner to school that morning, in complete silence. I remember the feel of his tiny hand in mine. It was weightless, practically floating between my palm and fingers. Whenever we walked hand in hand like that, it always felt as if he was just about to pull away, like he was slightly reluctant, but he never did. That was probably just my own self-doubt. Being a parent is like that – you’re always pretty sure you’re doing it wrong.
Anyway, that morning, holding my little five-year-old’s slightly sweaty, slightly reluctant hand was probably the thing I needed most in the world. He, most likely, thought it was weird.
A day or two later, I read a comment by an Eastern Orthodox priest who said that part of the tragedy of September 11 was that the nineteen young men who hijacked those planes were lost, too – not in the sense that they were dead, but that those young men were lost somewhere along the way, long before that unspeakably blue morning, somewhere between their childhood and the day they chose to kill nearly 3,000 innocent people. Those nineteen young men were kids once, too. They probably walked to school with a sweaty, reluctant palm in one of their parent’s hands, maybe their dad’s, and their dad probably felt as unsure as I did. But they were little kids then, just like mine. They weren’t monsters.
So how did that happen? No one really asks that question, do they?
My son and his fellow kindergartners are seniors in high school now. He’ll be eighteen in the spring, and off to college next year. They’re not much younger than some of hijackers who flew planes into buildings the morning of September 11.
And still no one asks: How did that happen?
David von Ebers
Latest posts by David von Ebers (see all)
- Illinois Prosecutor Faces Discipline for Racist Remarks - December 5, 2013
- RIP Junior Murvin: A Reggae Legend Passes On - December 5, 2013
- Empty Seats at the Table - November 27, 2013
Filed Under: September 11th