My FIL was a Navy SeaBee. He fought in Vietnam. He is very active in the local American Legion chapter. He believes in his country and does what he can to buy American. He also believes in teaching his grandsons the importance of the flag and of being an American.
I took my boys downtown in our little city to attend an event at the request of my FIL. He was participating in a ceremony honoring those who died 9 years ago.
My boys attended this ceremony last year when they were only 4 and 3 years old. I’m sure there were questions about the reason they were going then. I wasn’t home for the ceremony last year so my honey got to address whatever questions there were. Yesterday I got the questions.
We always try to be as honest as we can here about everything. We don’t want the boys to be afraid to ask any question and we want them to be armed with proper knowledge.
Eli wanted to know why we were going to a ceremony. I told him that we were going to remember a lot of people who were killed and people who died trying to save them. He wanted to know how they died. I told him that some very bad people flew airplanes on purpose into buildings so that a lot of people would die. He wanted to know if the bad people died too and I told him some of them did. Then he asked why people would do that. I didn’t have an answer…
How do you explain terrorism to a 5-year-old? How do you explain hatred that exists because of beliefs. How do you explain the desire to murder thousands of people and attempt to cripple a country? How do you explain the want to give your life so that many might die?
I gave him the only answer I had – I. Don’t. Know…
We stood proudly at the ceremony. I fought the tears that lingered so close as I thought about all of the visions from that day. The many men, women and children that were without their loved ones in the blink of an eye. I held my boys close to me. I was proud when Eli recited the Pledge of Allegiance with the crowd. And when it was over I was thankful. I was thankful for all those people who I have in my life.
And I reminded my boys to be thankful too. Without scaring them I wanted them to realize that in a moments notice anyone could be gone from their lives. It’s important to tell the people you love how much you love them every chance you get.
I move forward from this solemn day, as I often do, feeling fortunate for all that I have and sending love to all those who have lost.