Yesterday was my first Sunday as a Sunday School Teacher. I teach 2nd-5th grade along with 2 other ladies. I have to admit, I was really scared about teaching such an impressionable age and being fairly new to the church(I started attending the Episcopal Church at 16 with a friend and her family, stopped attending at 18 and started attending 3 years ago with my husband and our son), I don't want my lack of knowledge to hold anyone back from learning, but our rector asked me to teach and I felt God tug on my heart(He does that often.. so if you think I am over-committed, take it up with the Big Guy.), so I signed up for 20+ weeks of teaching.
Yesterday we had Little Chapel, so I only had my kids for about 20 minutes at the end of the time, and being 9/11, another member of our church had brought a book in for me to read to the class.
Let me back up a little and say that I lived in New Jersey on September 11, 2001. I was a senior in high school and I was sitting in my 3rd period class, ironically called 'Politics of Hatred'. I remember the announcement over the PA system that a plane had hit one of the towers at the World Trade Center. I remember hearing the second plane hit. I remember a friend in my class RUNNING out of class, crying, and I followed her. She said her father was suppose to be at a meeting in the WTC that morning and she needed to find out. We went to the nurses office and she called home. Her father's meeting was canceled that morning, possibly sparing his life. I remember the school went on lock-down and no one could come in and no one could get out. Eventually they let us leave and head home to our families. Being sandwiched between NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, was a scary place to be. By now 4 planes have crashed and no ones knows what will happen next. Will they go to Philadelphia?? (Which was 10 minutes away from the town I lived in.) Will a plane just randomly crash somewhere else close by if passengers on the plane over take the hijackers again? I am sure everyone in this country was scared, but I don't think people who lived outside of the Northeast were as scared as we were. I don't think the anniversary of 9/11 effects them like it does me and many others who were so close to everything.
So back to Sunday School. That morning I didn't really have time to think about the 9/11 anniversary too much. Sure, I'd been watching shows on the History Channel for a few days, but in the hustle of trying to get myself ready and my 5 year old ready for his first Sunday School class, I just didn't dwell on it. Then I was handed the book I knew I needed to make time to read to these children. Most of them who weren't even born on that horrifying day 10 years ago. Then I wasn't sure how I was going to get through it. For me, when I watch 9/11 coverage and documentaries, it literally makes my chest tight, it makes me relive the emotions I felt 10 years ago, and actually may be even more emotional for me now, as a wife and mother. But I think it is so very important for the generations to come to know what happened on that day, and remember not just the horrible loss of lives, but the courage of those firefighters who were running into a building that everyone else was running out of, and the things that 'every day people' did, how this country was so bonded together after such a tragedy,
So after Little Chapel and a craft, I took my kids into our classroom and began to talk to them about 9/11. The book I was given to read was called "The Chapel That Stood" By A.B. Curtiss.
It was a sweet story about St. Paul's Chapel that stood next to the Twin Towers and how it sustained no damage, as the sycamore tree in front of it saved it. It talked about the pairs of shoes firemen left on its fence as they quickly changed into their boots, many never returning for their shoes. The story taught the lesson that terrorism is temporary and courage and faith is forever.
It was NEVER so hard to get through a story tear free. I didn't look away from the pages once, because I knew if I looked into the children's eyes, I would have lost it. 9/11/2001 is a day I will NEVER EVER forget. I will pray for the lives lost and for the comforting of those who have lost someone. I will thank all firefighters and police officers and military persons forever, whether they had a link to 9/11 or not, because these are the men and women who help to keep us safe every day.
So tell you young kids about 9/11.. teach them the history so history doesn't repeat itself.
And most importantly.... NEVER FORGET.