Monday, May 2, 2011

His Story

The news broke late last night, and just as we were reaching for the remote control to shut off the television, we were drawn in again. Prince Firstly was with us, and unlike ten years ago, we made no attempts this time to shield him from the details of current events.

Back on September 11, 2001, he was not yet seven years old. The news and images at the time were beyond horrifying, incomprehensibly tragic, and not suitable viewing for a first-grader, we felt. I asked him last night if he remembers that day, and he nodded. Of course, he didn't fully understand what was happening at the time, but as he grew older, the pieces came together. He recalled that each update of his maturing knowledge of history had the same ending: "The person responsible is still out there. We haven't caught him."

His recollection was chilling. For a child to understand the world through the prism of 9/11 seems like a horrible theft of innocence. That justice isn't always neat and swift is an unsettling realization to take on board, even as an adult. As a child, for whom fair play and rule-abiding are constant lessons, it must be disturbing on a most basic level.

I don't think much will change as a result of Osama bin Laden's death. The world is different now, and there will be no going back to the way things used to be. Our children won't have the carefree and secure experience of the world that we did. But, I am glad to see one more revision to the story they will learn.


Nora said...

this is beautiful

Rick said...

This is a wonderful reminder that the world is seen through a different lens by each of us. Also that a child's view of the world is not limited to what we want for them, but expands with the assembled bits and pieces of our shared memories over time. How we choose to express our memories of 9/11, and how we react to the story as it continues to unfold, can have long-lasting effects on our children's relationships with the global community.