It has been 32 years ago that my father passed away. I remember that morning like it was yesterday. Some days I find myself reliving it like a movie playing in my head.
We owned a family business in Wynne, AR. My parents had recently purchased a second building to expand, and over the winter months the empty building had a water pipe to freeze and burst. It didn’t leak until the spring. My dad did what he always did. He went over to fix it.
I remember wondering where he was when I got to work that morning. I remember going in to ask my mom. I remember the gnawing feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I remember getting in the truck and driving over there. And I remember the sickening feeling in the bottom of my gut when I saw the plate glass window busted and an extension ladder laying through the opening.
I found my dad in a darkened bathroom. His back had caught him while two-stories up on this ladder, and he had fallen. He was washing the blood off his face where he had broken his nose. One arm was broken. He seemed fine other than that.
I wanted to call an ambulance, but he didn’t want me to go across the street to find a phone. Instead, I walked him to the front foyer where he had to sit down for a minute on the concrete steps in the middle of all the debris. We talked. He wanted me to know how much he loved my mom and my brother and me. And shortly after I got him in the truck and started toward the hospital, he went blind. And then he lost consciousness. He never woke up.
I remember it all some 32 years later. And I still cry as I write this down for the world to read.
Today is the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center Towers in New York City. And, like nearly all Americans, I remember where I was, what I was doing, and that same sickening feeling in the bottom of my gut that you get when you feel like you are falling and there is no floor to catch you.
Discovery remembers as well. If you are looking for ways to teach your students about this day, Discovery has materials that are second to none. Here is a link to just one of them. (You will need to login to your Discovery account to see it).
If you are teaching about 9/11 today, tell your kids your story. Its OK to cry. Its OK to choke up. There are no apologies needed.
Its been 32 years since my dad’s death, and the pain and wounds of that day still hurt. It has been 12 short years since 9/11, and the pain of a country can still be felt when you walk past our flag at half-mast. But with every remembrance, the legacy of those who died and those who ran without hesitation into the depths of such horrific destruction lives on.