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.
Your response is so moving as you record how you felt that our national tragedy would personally affect your own son! Your knees buckled, momma style, as most of our knees would likewise do. Protecting our nation had a personal implication in your son’s life and in the life of your family. You had birthed that boy. For you, this was highly personal. Your record needs to be repeated and affirmed to the next generation for all of the reasons you list here. This is the most compelling explanation I’ve read for why we need to talk about this every year.
Thank you for such a wonderful compliment. And I’ll give God all the credit for this explanation since He was the one who gave me the idea and told me to write this extra post!
This is such a great reminder as I, too, have those, “Oh no, on this day in history…” kind of thoughts. Yet, I have a great appreciation for God’s generational view of parenting (and now grand-parenting). These stories of our day get lost and then the history that surrounds them get lost, and what God does with them gets lost. Thanks for the little kick in the spiritual pants, Linda.
You’re welcome. I think I’ll give myself this kick in the pants every September 11!
Yes, tell the children about that day. I was at a church meeting that morning. We were never interrupted so the group knew something was wrong when the church secretary walked in and whispered something to our leader. She shared the news and we all fell to our knees to pray. When the prayer was complete, we all left to find our loved ones. My husband was waiting outside for me. We could not find our son fast enough. Son had turned 18 the day before. Once we located him, our family gathered and we sat in silence and tears as we watched the news. Many stories continue to be told from that day. I pray we never forget.
What a testimony that the first thing you did was come together and pray! Someday, you’ll find out how God used those prayers.
I hadn’t thought of that… how truly important it is to tell our children what happened, where we were. 9/11 was a huge moment in our history. I remember my parents talking about where they were whenJFK was assassinated. 9/11 is our generation’s version of that. But it’s even more important to tell our kids about Jesus and the Good News of salvation.
Absolutely, Jessica. We tell our children daily.
Linda, I remember everything about what I was doing and where I was when 9/11 happened. I remember my husband wanting to go out for lunch and I really didn’t have an appetite. I remember being glued to the television set instead of working for my job in my home office. I like the encouragement to tell our kids and all the Scriptures you brought out that encourage us to do the same thing…to remind the next generations of the great things God has done and to remember His laws. And may we always remember the great loss and heroes of 9/11.
Thank you, Karen. I know what you mean about being glued to the television. Eighteen months fter 9/11 when our Army rolled into Iraq, I did the same thing. Somewhere in those thousands of soldiers was my son. After HOURS of nonstop news reports, the Lord pointed out two things to me: “You’ve watched the same report now for the third time.” And: “You dedicated this child to me 22 years ago. Did you mean it? Trust Me.”
All it takes is one generation to fail to share with their children and grandchildren for us to lose those lessons of history.
Exactly! When I told my son about this, he agreed. He plans to share more history with his children who are old enough to understand.
Thanks, Sister for this message, truly was a sad time in our generation.
Yes, it was a tragedy. Yet Americans became united against a common enemy and we held great regard for our police and fire departments. Possibly even sadder today is that we have forgotten how much we appreciated them and have allowed different voices to frame our attitudes toward those who risk their lives in serving our communities.
I hope if we tell our children about 9/11, it will be another way to remind them how we felt as a nation at that time.