I wasn't going to post about the 9/11 tragedy.
But tonight I had a little reminder, and that changes things.
We like to go on walks a lot in the evenings, and my boy is getting pretty good on his little bike (with helmet and training wheels). With all the cars that pass through our neighborhood, I usually keep a tight reign on him until we get to the school parking lot a couple of blocks away. Then he's free to ride like the wind. He likes to have "races" with me and sometimes we go over to the chapel on the grounds and smell the beautiful roses, each picking out a "favorite" to show the other one. We look for bats swooping out at dusk. He always enjoys striking up a conversation with anyone else out for a stroll or a bike ride. And then we usually come home for an ice cream cone, a bubble bath, stories, and bedtime. I love these evenings.
Tonight, we had just crossed the street over to the school when we noticed something different. There was a banner hung between two trees with something about "we remember" and "2,997 lives lost", and below the banner, there were 2,997 American flags in the ground. (Well, actually we didn't count, being that my son can only count up to about 12 or 13 before making up all sorts of numbers, but I'm pretty sure there were that many little flags in the ground. It was beautiful.) We both stood there silently for a few moments before the questions started pouring out of him.
I've never told him the story of 9/11. It's too much for his little heart at this age. But with this symbolic display, it was time to tell it to him in the short, four-year-old version. I told him some bad guys took planes full of people and flew them into two big tall buildings and killed lots of people. He asked me if God made the bad guys. I told him that God makes everybody, and everybody has a choice to make good decisions or bad decisions. I told him how it made the whole world very sad, and that many people lost their family. I told him that every year we remember what happened.
While we were standing there and after I tried explaining it to him, two cars drove slowly by looking at the flags. My little guy yelled out, "Hi! We need pway for people killed by bad duys, killed in airplanes and towers!", yelled it over and over again, making sure those drivers heard him. I was proud. He got it, even if it was only on a four-year-old level. Then tonight, during his little bedtime prayer, he asked Jesus to take care of the people killed in the airplanes and big buildings. I was proud.
So yes. We remember. And we will never forget.