Friday, I sat on my stool in front of my class, attempting valiantly, to hold it together while I explained to my students, most of whom weren't even born on September 11, 2001, why we were going to a commemoration ceremony down the street at our City Hall.
I had to explain to them about the emotions they might see ... the reason why we were even worrying about it 10 years later ... and the whole time, the memories of that day almost overwhelmed me.
I hadn't expected that. I mean, it has been 10 years. I've moved on ... by it's very nature, life moves on. But then one of my sweet, little fourth graders, ever the insightful darling, pointed out that "many people are still very haunted by that day."
She's right, of course. I've written about that day and my reactions to it here http://teachersworld.blogspot.com/2006/09/five-years-and-one-day-later.html and here http://teachersworld.blogspot.com/2007/09/apocalyptic_5857.html. We're all haunted ... haunted by the images and the Post-9/11 world we all live in.
We may move on, but I would say that those of us that sat glued to our televisions and radios and witnessed the horror of many, many lives lost ... we are the folks that will never forget. The nation was and continues to be haunted by the images of that day.
While I never lost any one in the four plane crashes that shook that day and the subsequent building collapses ... while I did not know any one that put thoughts of their own safety on hold to go into a burning skyscraper to save others, I join the collective mourning for a nation that will never be the same.
As I sat and tried to explain to a generation of kiddos that hasn't known anything other than terror alerts and The War of Terror ... as I sat and tried to explain how this was my new normal ... their only normal ... and how that new normal began with a sense of uncertainty ... a fear of the new unknowns, I was struck by the fact that, despite that day, despite the haunting images, the collective comes together today to reflect and remember, and we help to raise a new generation ... a generation that can learn from the events of the past, to pave the way for a new future, for an even brighter new normal.