Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nobody's Foil on 9/11

Aluminum foil.

My wife will tell you I have an aversion to it.  A big one.

I'm not afraid of it, but won't use it, unless I have no choice. 

Growing up, my father used aluminum foil.  And reused it.  There was a drawer in our kitchen full of crumpled, crinkly used pieces of foil. 

In fact, I don't recall seeing a fresh sheet of aluminum foil, coming from the box, until my mid-twenties.

We didn't grow up poor, and my parents aren't cheap. 

My father, my parents, were children of war. 

My Dad was 8 years old on December 7, 1941.  

He grew up outside of St. Louis in a home often shared with soldiers from a nearby military base.

He knew sacrifice.  As part of the war effort, aluminum was rationed along with food and other commodities.  

He never forgot. 

Growing up I remember hijackings and showdowns with the Soviets.  I remember sitting in the school hallway with my head under a book, hiding from nukes, or whatever was headed our way. 

I wondered how, when I heard about guerrilla warfare, they managed to escape the zoo and learn how to use a gun. 

I remember vividly "The Day After," a movie about life after a nuclear bomb hits Lawrence, Kansas. 

Have you seen any 9/11 specials, or read any articles?

So far I've seen little.  It's too raw, too soon, too real. 

They say 9/11 is our generations' Pearl Harbor.  

If 9/11 was our Pearl Harbor, the parallel ends there, as we engaged in two wars which involved no shared sacrifice.  No draft, war bonds or rationing.  A missed opportunity by our leaders to truly unite our country. 

My oldest children (twins) were 3 years old on 9/11.

My children, like my parents, are children of war, but they're growing up with little sense that life is different.  They need to be reminded of war, which is sad. 

So do we.  Other than a longer wait for an airplane, we have little tangible evidence of war, other than lives sacrificed and a $3 trillion Visa bill. 

Are we safer today than ten years ago?  It seems we are, but seems is the operative word. 

My twins, now in 8th grade, came home from school this week with a questionnaire for parents about 9/11.  I found myself defining terrorism.  "If we're scared or back down from our way of life, the terrorists win."

My daughter Nora asked, "What can we do to remember 9/11?" 

That's an easy one.  Cherish our freedom, and never forget.

My parents probably don't know Kid Rock from a pet rock, but they would appreciate his anthem "Born Free."  My kids do. 

And they don't use aluminum foil.

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