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9/11: What do you tell the children? It’s Heroes Day

September 11, 2011

What do you tell the children about September 11, 2001?  We should tell them something, but we don’t want to scare them and provide them with another set of fears:  of tall buildings, airplanes, razor-knives, foreigners, dark-skinned men, or Muslims. They need to learn what happened and know what we’ve learned.  In time, some say.  But time is scarce and stakes are high.

Some of what was learned – then, since, and even before – should be incorporated into the parents’ values curriculum long before the child is capable of handling the most benign detail of that day.  Children must be made to understand, for their own personal safety, that there are bad people in this world.  They are few, true.  Still they exist, can be extremely dangerous, and are not always easy to spot.  And sometimes you just can’t do a thing about it.  Other times you can.  But know this, child: evil exists.

For the child who cannot yet know the horrors of that day, don’t hide from them that today is a special day.  Tell them today is Heroes Day.  It is the anniversary of a day ten years ago when more ordinary Americans acted heroically (i.e. became heroes) than any other day in history.

Everyday people, that day, had their greatest acts.

Some, in their official duty to public service, ran into burning buildings and down destroyed corridors to rescue others.  Others – office workers, employees, executives, contractors, consultants, building personnel, visitors – made their way out of the compromised buildings, guiding, encouraging, caring for, carrying, and saving the lives of former strangers. Few others, on an airplane high above the calamity in New York and Washington, D.C., called up their maximum individual courage.  When theirs was bonded with others it presented the unstoppable force that confronted evil in a 17-inch wide aisle twenty-five thousand feet above Pennsylvania.

What other acts could better be called true love?  It was the antithesis of what preceded it.

Immediately after a band of merciless, debased people praised God, destroyed themselves, and murdered thousands of our countrymen, the victim-survivors acted in plain contrast and direct opposition.  The Americans loved their neighbor.  Every one that died and lived that day endured the forward front of the death culture of a pathetic and vile ideology.  The acts on September 1, 2001 were committed by the most bigoted, racist, sexist, intolerant, and violent society on earth today.  The day’s events were, however, only penultimate;  the final scene will belong to the Americans.  Ten years have passed.  It may take a hundred.

Perish the thought that our children grow up to feed blindly at the trough of modern multiculturalism and moral relativity.  Parent, don’t work too hard or too long at shielding them from this day’s events or you will endanger their future.  In time, reveal to them what occurred and why it did.  Let the light shine on the countless acts of courage and heroics of ordinary people in extraordinary times.

American author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Show me a hero, and I will write you a tragedy.”  How true.  Big brain Dr. Frank Crane also wrote on the subject in volume 5 of Four Minute Essays (1919).  The essay opened with this line:  “Heroism is the salt that keeps humanity from rotting.”  The essay ends as follows:  “True, friend pessimist, humanity may be just mud, dirt, earth; but all through it sparkles the pure and priceless gold of heroism.”

Happy Heroes Day to you, yours, and our nation.

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2 Comments
  1. louis m. pinto permalink
    September 12, 2011 1:35 pm

    I appreciate the excellent commentary and advice.

    • September 20, 2011 10:52 am

      And I appreciate your appreciation, sir.

      “Any power must be an enemy of mankind which enslaves the individual by terror and force, whether it arises under the Fascist or the Communist flag. All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual.” – Einstein

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