Friday, September 11, 2009

Freedom Isn't Free

As a teacher, this is one of the worst days of the school year for me. I feel obligated, as someone who imparts knowledge and teaches history to our children, to talk about 9-11. It's not a date I can simply let pass on the calendar. But then comes the dilemma. Sharing the knowledge that I have with regards to this date comes a rather large responsibility. Telling my students about 9-11 means opening their eyes to some of the horrors that exist in the real world. Most of my kids live in a world where they play X-Box after school and go to soccer in the evenings. Throw some family time in there and mix it with a little homework and you've got the idea. Now, enter me.

I get to be the one to tell them that this world isn't always X-Box and soccer. I am the one who shatters the idea that being an adult is great, that everything is hunky dorey and that's just how things go. To explain the significance of this date with impartiality and tact is just plain difficult, but in my opinion, very necessary. I WANT those kids to realize that there were men and women, ready and WILLING, to put down their lives to protect other people. I WANT those kids to know that while there is evil in this world, there are good people willing to rise up against it. I WANT them to realize that while these people are gone, they should not be forgotten. I WANT these kids to realize that there are people who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that they can do what they do. I want them to realize that for some of them, the ultimate sacrifice was paid, or is being paid by their very own parents. Not just for them, but for others as well. Today, when my 8 year old raised his hand to tell me his father is in Afghanistan, I can't tell you what I felt. It was a mixture of hatred, sadness, and an overwhelming need to hug that kid, who for all intensive purposes, probably wishes to hell about now that they hadn't knocked down the towers because then he could just play some football with his dad.

Having the freedoms that we do isn't free of cost. The cost is paid through the blood and sweat of the men and women all over the world in our armed forces and our emergency response teams. Today is for remembering those who fell and those who are continuing to fight. Today is not only for the fallen, but also for the sheepdogs who continue to stand watch everyday, ready to protect what they hold dear. When the wolf comes to call, he will find that not all who stand with the flock are sheep. This day too is for them. We honor, and we remember. Lest we forget.

To our fallen heroes... may you continue to rest in peace...

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