September 11th….for most of America it was a day of tough memories, remembrance, service, and reflection. A day to utter prayers for those people whose lives changed forever. It matters not if we knew them personally; grief and loss are pretty universal. And as we remembered the victims, we honored those heroes…ordinary people who woke up, started their day, and were immersed in performing courageous and life-saving acts. Was it all years ago? Seems like yesterday, in so many ways.
My son-in-law-to-be was experiencing his first day on the job: as a firefighter. My daughter, soon to be his wife, decided to hang out with me in the classroom. As I walked by the television in the school cafeteria and saw the plane hit the towers, I quickly said to myself, “That was purposeful. No plane would ever fly that close to those buildings.” Being married to a pilot had taught me a thing or two, and “see and avoid” was etched in my memory. Still it made no sense. Would it ever? But I said what I needed to say about September 11th in my book. It was the absolute hardest day as a teacher in the thirty-two years I taught. Explaining slaughter to little lambs is beyond comprehension.
But that was then. We were a victim of this crime collectively–and our personal security was snatched from us all. America is still “home of the free and land of the brave” but there is a new line…..”but with greater caution.” Life goes on.
This evening, my best friend welcomed her first grandchild into this world. This little guy will celebrate his birthday every year on a day overshadowed by doom. But as they say, “love wins.” And I am reminded of that quote by Carl Sandburg which says, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” And so it is. This is a joyous event for all of us who love him already. And I don’t know if it was planned or not, but his name is Lincoln. Imagine that. A ‘grand’ child named after a great leader. See? That’s how it is. Hope just seems to find its way home. And is there no greater joy than in an infant? He will wander through his childhood as an innocent boy, full of wonder and giggles. But for him, September 11th will become a gathering of family and friends, gifts, candles and cake.
Welcome to this world, Lincoln Jonathan. With your coming, you push us into tomorrows laced with promise. Kids do that, you know. They take us adults by the hand, and lead us into the unknown, whispering, “Don’t be afraid.” Without this wisdom and promise we would be nowhere. The Scriptures say, “A little child will lead them” and this has proven to be true.
As I put my final thoughts on this page, the clock tells me that the eleventh has faded into the twelfth. September 11th will now begin another chapter for many of us….fresh with new life.