USA TODAY Bestselling Author
Dear Jordan and Brandon,
Today is September 12, 2001. It is a Wednesday and when you are older you will probably read in the history books about what happened to our country yesterday, September 11, 2001. I am sorry that it takes something so horrifying to happen to all of our lives to prompt me to write to you. I suppose we all believe that in some way we are immortal, untouchable, but we are not.
Yesterday, at about 8:45 am in the morning, “terrorists” hijacked planes carrying civilians, people like me and you, innocent Americans. These evil people flew these planes and their passengers into the World Trade Center in New York City, the financial capital of our country, collapsing two 110-floor buildings and destroying all life and business that occupied the space. In Washington, DC, our nation’s capitol, another plane was hijacked and flown into the Pentagon, our hub for military and defense. A fourth plane, again, carrying innocent passengers, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania before reaching it’s still to be determined destination, killing everyone on board. As it stands now, we are looking at a possible death toll of 10-20,000* innocent victims. This, unfortunately, may appear to be a scene out of a complex, and surreal espionage novel, but it is very real and its repercussions and fallout have touched every American citizen on many, many levels. In fact, we have witnessed the worst act of terrorism in our nation’s history, or possibly the world.
Mommy could go into further detail about the horror that bestowed the American people yesterday, a nation stunned by the actual declaration of war on its homeland, but I do not wish to taint you any more than I have. That I had to put you to bed last night, reading you a story, kissing you, and smiling for you, as if life was ever going to be the same for any of us was difficult enough. I wanted to cry at the outright disregard for our nation and our nation’s children, but I would not let you see me cry. I want you to believe this world to be as perfect as it is, for as long as you can, I want you to believe as your Daddy and I have done for over 30 years now, that this is the land of the free and the brave.
What happened to us yesterday was an unthinkable act of true evil. Our nation has always prided itself on its freedoms, the very fiber of our country that has resulted in us being the richest and most powerful country in the world. Rich has different meanings here though. Yes, we have been rich in numbers, having experienced greater economic growth and stability than most other nations, but we are rich more so because we have the freedoms to pursue economic wealth, to seek the American Dream. That in itself is worth far more weight than gold. As a powerful nation, one can only say that our power rests in our ability to join together, free of prejudice and discrimination, and assist our brothers and sisters in their time of sorrow. We are a country bound by our differences, but who have come together to demonstrate a love for one another that magically has taken a gash from it’s underside and weaved it back together again. We will never as a country be fully healed, not after the devastation that we have witnessed, but we will be a better and a stronger nation having come together.
I know this is a lot for you to absorb, but I want you to know how deeply this tragedy has affected us. Up until yesterday, the American people have enjoyed so many freedoms in our lives. Things we take for granted like getting on a plane, going to our place of business on a Tuesday morning, walking down the street. Because of the magnitude of this disaster, it is almost certain that things will have to change in our otherwise “safe” country. I do not know what life will be like when you are 7 or 15 or 25. Right now we get on planes and fly to visit loved ones without “marshals” on board, but that may change in the very near future. Who knows how safe our schools will be, how our freedoms will be affected. I can only hope as your mother, and a citizen of the most amazing country in the world, that you will enjoy freedoms as those before you, and you never feel the wicked lashing of evil revoking those freedoms from you.
I love you. Daddy loves you. We all love you. The love is the easy part. There is so much love in our country right now you can actually feel its glow illuminating the darkened sky. It rained last night and I know that G-d was crying for the children that were lost, families that were torn apart. That is how much love there is around. May you always be surrounded in such love. It is a gift to be cherished so hold onto it tightly. You never know when it will be taken away from you. And when I say that it is the easy part, I mean that love is often easy to feel, but much harder to express, nurture, and keep alive. Those are true acts of love; maintaining and sustaining. Work hard to do both.
My promise to you, my children, will be to try to provide you with a secure, loving environment so that you always have a place to call your home. I will protect you with my life, as best as I possibly can, and know that everything I do, I do for you and your best interests so that you, too, may enjoy a life as blessed as your daddy and I have had. If I could take away any pain or sadness to prohibit you from any suffering, I would do so, but there will be times I cannot and you must value those times because they will build you into stronger men. I am sorry for what happened yesterday. I am sorry if I was sad and a little out of sorts. You were happy though, I made sure of it. I will always try to do that.
You are just over 21 months and you have so much of life ahead of you. I have watched you grow from tiny infants to handsome, joyful little boys. There will be so many things ahead of you to experience, some filled with happiness, some tinged with pain. There are innately evil people in this world and there are positively amazing people as well. You will have your beliefs questioned, your trust and faith tested, and you will still be amazed at how passionately you can feel towards your country. That is a gift I hope to pass along to you; that you may still see good in the world through pain and sorrow, and may you still have love in your heart when all faith is lost.
*At the time, it was believed the death toll was higher than actual figures.