Thursday, September 8, 2011

Things No Child Should Know

The talk on the radio news is of the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Ten years, and though I was not there, I can still feel that day. It's one of those reference points, like the Kennedy assassination or the death of Elvis, in which almost everyone seems to remember where they were and what they were doing.

I was late for work, driving through traffic in a four way intersection. When the second plane hit, I remember punching some part of the car and screaming, "fucking terrorists!" before I, or anyone, even knew what was really happening.

I ran a shelter for abused and neglected kids then. Word of the occurrence got through to them in the basement classroom through the internet. As the director, I felt like it was my job to tell them. The staff and kids gathered in the group room. I remember thinking that I was a very strange person as I gravely made the announcement - sounding like Walter Cronkite, an old time TV news anchor.

It was quiet for a minute, and a hand went up.


What's a terrorist?

A second hand shot up, but she couldn't hold the words back.

Why do they want to kill us?

I couldn't answer right away.

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