The following is an article I just received from a fellow grieving dad. I thought it was appropriate to share with others.
It’s hard to believe that it has been nine years since September 11, 2001. I remember President George Bush Jr.’s television address as he told our nation that we had been the victim of an act of war. I noticed how he emphasized that term “act of war” several times during his speech. I recognized that he was using that term to remind us of the seriousness of the situation, and to point out that a foreign enemy had come on our “turf” and killed more than 3,000 Americans. I remember that he mentioned the name of a terrorist organization thought to be responsible for the act of war. It was a name that most of us had never heard, but a name that we became familiar with daily. I also remember that President Bush said to be patient, that it would take a while for our military to track down the enemy and bring them to justice.
September 11, 2001 was a day of change for America. Our overall security tightened up considerably. When people went to the airport, their vehicles might be swept with a special metal detector. As they began to enter the area to go to their debarkation point, they (or their baggage) were subject to a more intense search. I picked up a friend at the airport a few months after 9/11, and it was the first time I can ever remember seeing armed U. S. Army soldiers performing security.
For a period of time after 9/11 you saw more people wearing American flag pins on their lapels. You heard more patriotic statements, public and personal. It seemed that Americans felt more unified as they recognized the common threat to our country. Even the media said that it would leave the President and his administration alone and let them do the job they needed to do. I believe that I read or heard that more people attended church services. Without doubt, there was more respect and appreciation for our military as we saw them nightly on the television news, thousands of miles from home, going cave to cave with their weapons on the ready.
September 11, 2001 marked the beginning of a change in America and Americans. It was a day of catastrophe and it prompted a change in thought and action. Some of the positive changes (more patriotic statements, more flag pins displayed, etc.) sort of seemed to die down as time progressed. Still, we seem to have become a nation more aware of our vulnerability and , perhaps, more conscious of how good we have it in this country.
As bereaved parents, we’ve had our own personal day of catastrophe, our own personal 9/11, if you will. The day of our child’s death was certainly a catastrophe. As I think back to August 13, 2002, I remember what a strange day it was. The police officer’s” in person” visit to me at work, the trip to the hospital, the doctor’s words, “She didn’t make it” . What a strange and catastrophic day it was.
After the catastrophe of our child’s death, we have a choice. Should we continue on “as is” or should we identify areas of our life that need improvement and work on those areas? The catastrophe has occurred and we can’t change that, but can we use the terrible event to make something positive happen in our life? Can we go down the “road less traveled”-the road of positive change?
I have tried to be more appreciative of nature since my daughter’s death. I can appreciate birds, and squirrels, and pretty flowers more now. Appreciating the beauty of nature is a positive change. Oh, and what about making some really big changes in the areas of forgiveness, being less judgmental, becoming more patient and compassionate, being less self centered, listening more and talking less, showing more humility, etc. (you fill in the etcetera based on self examination).
Positive change is tough because we are creatures of habit and often fall into” ruts”. I read a most interesting definition of a “rut” once. The definition said that a ” rut” was just a grave with both ends knocked out. Maybe now is a good time for us to do a self assessment and make positive changes in those areas that need improvement. If we need some motivation, we can remind ourselves that these positive changes can be done in honor of and in memory of our child-and that’s certainly a good thing!
Written by David Haddock – Clinton, Mississippi
In loving memory of Bonnie Catherine Haddock (02/06/1985-08/13/2002)