A little over a year ago, my mother attended a book signing by author A. B. Curtis. She bought a book for my children and mailed it to them. I have to admit I was skeptical of a children's book about the tragedy of September 11, 2001. How do you capture the horror in rhyming verse and whimsical pictures? You don't. Instead, Ms. Curtis tells the story of St. Paul's church, an historical church that stands fewer than 100 yards from where the towers stood. The chapel became a refuge and launching point for the rescuers who were on the scene. Every time I read the book tears well in my eyes at the thought of the fireman who hung their shoes on the chapel fence before they went into the towers:
Oh what gallant men did we lose
Who never came back to get their shoes!
The book is a gentle re-telling. Our children are surrounded every day by references to the horror that forever changed our world. They will ask what "9/11" means and they surely deserve to be answered. But, they should not see that footage and they should not be bombarded with remembrances more appropriate for grief-stricken, terrorized adults. Childhood is all too brief. Very soon, they will be old enough to learn the details of the day. For now, this book tells them a story of hope amidst the charred ruins. A story we all need to hear.
And one more thing: my husband flies today and my children are more than a little unnerved by that fact. Your prayers are appreciated.