I’ve written about this before, but this morning I got to go with my grandpa to his usual breakfast spot in the little town where my parents grew up. We recently had to take away the truck keys from my grandpa since he has become a danger to himself and others when it comes to driving. It’s a very hard concept for him to understand because it was his last stitch of freedom. As a farmer, driving has been in every part of his life. Someone has takes him to breakfast every morning where a group of his friends have met for over 15 years.
I volunteered to take him this morning since it was visiting for the weekend. We drove through town in the dark and rain headed to Dell’s. The train tracks around Cleveland are not like the ones here, here they are bumpy, uneven, and you have to go about 5 mph to cross. The only thing my grandpa said on the way into town As he shrugged was,
Guess it’s just a railroad town.
We walked in and everyone greeted him, by name asked where he picked me up at and introduced his granddaughter. A group of older men sat at a table leaving the seat at the head of the table for my grandpa. None of them needed a menu and coffee was promptly delivered when we sat down. Little to no words about what they were going to eat were exchanged and breakfast was served. The group of men that sat there talked of farming, new buildings and the weather. I chimed in every once in while, but enjoyed just listening to the conversation.
I had never gone to breakfast with my grandpa, at least not early in the morning with his group of friends. Being able to do this means the world to me. My grandparents are one of the reasons I’m not ready to move away and they are two of the most important people in my life. Being able to take him was so important to me because I was able to be a part of something he does every day. I cherish these moments and love hearing about old times and being a part of their life.
My office is comprised of a lot of people who are well over 20 years my senior. Today, many of them have asked me “Do you even remember 9/11?”. I was only 10 when the towers fell that day, but I do still remember it. Now, overtime as I grew older I became to realize the actually severity of the situation and the heartbreak and unrest it caused for many Americans. I’m not much of a politician, but I believe that the new threat with ISIS has brought lots of these memories back to the fateful day 13 years ago.
As a 5th grader nestled in a Cleveland suburb, not much was told to us about what was going on. Teachers seemed a little bit frantic and a couple of kids were pulled out of school, but I don’t think I was every really aware of what was going on. That afternoon when I got off the bus, my best friend and neighbor said to her mom, “Mom, tell her about the planes. Tell her about the planes.” My best friend’s mom said I needed to go home and hear it from my Mom. I still didn’t really get what was going on until my sister, a then senior in high school, turned off the TV and sat me down to tell me that a really tall building with lots of people in it in New York City had been hit by an airplane. Now, as a 10 year old I didn’t really understand what a terrorist was or why they would be flying planes into a building let alone 2 buildings, a field and the pentagon. I don’t think I even knew that the word terrorist even existed. How do you explain an attack on a free country to a child. Everyone was comparing their stories the next day at school, my sisters 8th grade trip was canceled, my classmates uncle was supposed to be in the pentagon that day, but his flight was delayed, my best friend’s Marine dad was getting deployed, as 10-11 year old kids we just wanted the best story. None of us really understood.
The stories, shows, movies, articles and TV specials that are played or written every September 11th help kids who were either too young or not born yet to understand the meaning of what it was like to lose so many lives of victims, volunteers and first responders that day. So although I was only 10, yes I do remember and yes it still has a meaning to me. I will never forget that day for as long as I live and I hope that I can pass on to my children the importance of remembering those who lost their lives on 9/11. For my generation, this was a entirely new concept of a tragedy and I hope that the importance of our country standing united, the thankfulness for our free country and our military that keeps it that way can be passed on for generations to come.