Until the morning of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, I was blissfully unaware of the lengths to which terrorists would go to further their goals. That morning was a true eye-opener. I sat, riveted to the television - I needed to go to work, but just couldn't pull myself away to do it.
I sat in the local coffee shop, watching CNN, in shock, as the towers burned, and finally succumbed to the stress and fell.
I've seen that many of the news outlets and other programs refuse to show original footage. I don't know their reasons, but I disagree. Our children need to know what happened. They need to know that there are bad people, evil people, in the world who will stop at nothing to harm innocent people. If they're younger, children don't need all the gory details - but they need to understand why we have a moment of silence every year on September 11. Why we need to teach love ... and strength. Why sitting back and allowing a cowardly bully "poke us in the nose" will only result in more aggressive attacks.
We need to remember.
On this 9/11 day, we are watching some of the CNN footage. It will play on the computer all morning. We'll go about our day, do some school work, and come back to it to see what happened when there is some noise - much like everyone did on that fateful day. We will probably cry together, I will answer hundreds of questions, and my children will remember. They will carry this forward and understand that there are some people in the world who will never stop trying to harm innocent people.
Is this too much for a pair of almost 10-year-old boys? It's a lot, but 13 years ago, my older son and daughter saw much of this footage too. It was a lot for them, but they remember, and they will always remember because I did not shield them from the truth. I didn't run around shutting off televisions so that they did not have to see what happened. They deserved to know. To be able to process it and ask questions in their own way, if I had sheltered them from this - they would have heard about it at school from other children. Possibly, probably in ways that would have caused even more confusion than we all felt already on that day.
How you teach this with your children is your choice - but I believe that it needs to be taught, not whitewashed, not hidden from them. Hiding the ugly truth from children is what creates oblivious adults.
What do you think?