One of my friends is a 6th grade teacher and was commenting on how her incoming class this fall will be full of students who weren't even born in 2001. She told me that every year, she has to go more in-depth when discussing 9/11 because it's becoming more and more abstract to the students she teaches.
This week, while preparing for Independence Day, I've been thinking about the things that make me the American I am.
How would I be different if I didn't remember September 11th, 2001?
How would I be different if the red stripes that symbolize courage and valor also represented the blood of one (or more) of my loved ones? Would America mean something more to me if there was more personal sacrifice on my side?
How would I be different if my nights were lonely because my husband was serving in the military? Would I catch my breath each time the phone beeped or the doorbell rang?
How would I be different if I experienced war on the homefront, like so many of our ancestors? Would I have the strength to do what was required of me, to be brave and serve in whatever manner I was called?
I think about my grandparents and the sacrifices they made for our country during WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. There is a difference in the way they treat the Flag than the way most people in my generation do. It symbolizes true sacrifice for them.
I'm so thankful for the people who have protected this country for centuries. There is beauty in the pride that flies with every flag. Beauty, sacrifice, pain, and determination.
May we never forget it.