How do we deal with 9/11? How do we honor and respect those who risked their lives? How do we face a tragedy, and find goodness and strength? Most importantly, how do we do this with young children?
The tragic events of 9/11 unfolded, and our country was united in brotherhood. America had scores of heroes, and we helped one another with selfless acts of kindness. Since then, my school has celebrated “Kindness, Peace, and Love Day” every September. We come together to meet and honor heroes. We talk about the hero in all of us, and the kindness in all of us.
Last year Police Officer Rachel and Firefighter Lindsay joined us. They told the children how helping one another and being kind makes them a hero. They shook hands with each and every child. We thanked them for all they do.
Imagine being a child on a playground with the entire school, looking at a big American flag and hearing a real police officer and real firefighter tell you that YOU can be a hero.
My class proudly holds the American flag. The Pre-K class leads us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and we all sing “God Bless America”, loud and clear. We have sung “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “Proud to Be An American”. And, we sing a wonderful new patriotic song, “Red, White, and Blue”.
Music and singing is ingrained in children. Patriotic songs lift the heart. On Kindness, Peace, and Love Day, they are especially important. It is how we honor our country, and it’s a tribute to the heroes of 9/11.
Do you know the pride of holding the American flag and singing patriotic songs, with heroes? I do, and so do the children in my class. It’s hard to sing the words when your heart gets tangled with your throat.
Firefighter Lindsay taught me how to fold the American flag last year, in front of all the children. They were spellbound. It looked like magic to transform the flag. And, it was. The children then went back to their class or stayed out on the playground. Funny thing, Police Officer Rachel and Firefighter Lindsay stayed. They didn’t want to go, nor let Kindness, Peace, and Love Day come to an end. They felt such a part of this event.
Maybe if we stay we can keep it going. Maybe if we stay more children will understand. Maybe if we stay we can make a difference.
They stayed. Children talked with them individually. Everyone connected. They made a difference.
Goodness is triumphant. The events that happened after 9/11 have become the foundation for thanking our heroes, seeing the hero in all of us, and celebrating Kindness, Peace, and Love.