On the morning of September 11, 2001 I was in my first month of student teaching. I was doing the opening "ceremony" before a class of first graders. We looked at the calendar, read the new words on the word wall, and talked about the weather. As I was in mid-sentence, my supervising teacher ducked her head in to say that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. The reality of this tragedy didn't take hold for me until the children had been dropped off at their P.E. class and we caught a live broadcast just as the second plane hit the tower. The children went about the rest of their day oblivious to what had happened. The teachers, however, were all too aware of what was going to happen next.
This was a town with a high-profile air base. Many students were children of airmen. I recall, specifically, looking at little Mattie. She was a happy little girl, all smiles and curls. She came to me the next day, with something in her eyes that was deeper than the wide-eyed awe and confusion that many of the children had returned with. She new her father would be leaving soon.
As the weeks went on and the halls became draped with giant hand-print American flags and artwork depicting the burning towers, Mattie decided that she would show her patriotism and love for her father by wearing a small American Flag pin made out of safety pins and beads.
One day I came in, after shadowing kids at recess, to find Mattie in tears. She had lost her pin. She had shown very little sadness and only talked about her father with pride, never that she missed him. At that moment, though, I knew that she was not crying over her pin. She was crying because we missed her father, her hero, her daddy.
On this Memorial Day, lets recognize the sacrifice of those that have died in combat for our country, but lets also recognize those in the military who lose time with their loved ones while in service. Finally, lets recognize the sacrifice of children who lose months and years with a parent so that we can live in a free and prosperous land. They give us a beautiful gift.
Lisa works with families who are looking for educational solutions for their children. She has provided services to families in the DFW area for over 10 years.