I woke up this morning to the voice of our local talk news radio DJ Tony Katz as he shared his experience and memories of 9/11.
Oh, great, I thought. This entire day will be dominated by eighteen-year-old news. Depressing.
Not my best moment.
Tony’s next words changed my entire attitude. I paraphrase: “Tell your children,” he said. “I tell my kids every year where I was on that fateful day and what happened as we learned about the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.” (He was at work in a Washington, D.C. restaurant and watched people fleeing the government building across the street.)
Tell your children… His words brought Old Testament scriptures to mind.
God commands us to teach our children His Word–history and prophecy, rules for living and loving.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul…You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up…so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them…”
God commanded the Israelites to teach their children the history of the Passover. To this day, the Jewish culture obeys His directive and still celebrates the Seder meal. Christians are wise to teach their children Israeli history as well. It’s part of our heritage, too.
Exodus 12:26-27. “And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?” you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.'”
God commands us to tell our children the bad things that have happened to us and the events that brought about disasters, so we may repent of any sin that brought His wrath on us, and that we know His promises and rewards for those who remain faithful to Him.
Joel 1:3-4. “Tell your sons about it, and let your sons tell their sons, and their sons the next generation. What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten…”
The entire book of Joel goes on to give more details of tragic historical events and eventual deliverance and blessing.
September 11, 2001, was a turning point in our history. Only those over the age of thirty remember much about it, which means an entire generation is now growing up who did not experience that day. We need to tell them.
Tell your children how people perished in airplanes and skyscrapers because someone hated America so much they were willing to massacre the innocent.
Tell your children how survivors walked out of New York City to the safety of New Jersey.
Tell your children how policemen and firemen raced into buildings compromised by fire so they could direct office workers toward the exits. Emergency personnel ran up the stairs while the civilians made their way down.
Tell your children how the entire nation came together in patriotic fervor to let the world know we were united in our determination to defeat the insidious enemy who killed indiscriminately.
Here is my story in that moment of our history: I had just arrived at school, preparing for another day of teaching fifth grade. The news of a plane “accident” that I’d heard about on the car radio changed to “terrorist act.” I stepped into the office as the second plane buried itself in the south tower.
It was in that moment that I realized my world, our world, had changed. Whether we declared it or not, we were at war. I had read about World War II. I had lived the Vietnam years and waited for my dad to return from that war. But now, war had come to our shores.
My son was a brand new lieutenant in the Army, and I knew he would be deployed into danger. My legs actually buckled at the realization, and I had to lean against the wall to steady myself.
As soon as I post this extra blog article, I will be calling my sons. “Can we do a video chat?” will be my request. “I want my grandchildren to know what happened, to know your part in our history, so they will remember.”
What is your story from that day? You’re welcome to post it here, but far more important, tell your children.