It was ten years ago today when our family awoke to get our Monica ready for her first day of kindergarten. We had gotten her uniform all ready the night before, with her brand new lime-green backpack filled with brand new pencils, erasers, and stickers ... the whole family bursting with anticipation as we put all of our focus into supporting Monica and her school.
As she was getting ready, as I walked out of the house, I ran into my neighbor Mark who said to me that one of the twin tower buildings had been hit by an airplane. I remember this well.
I came inside and turned on the news and there it was. The entire horrific story unfolding before our eyes. It was unreal. It was surreal.
With worry, concern and confusion, we all got loaded up and took Monica to school. Andrew was a little guy, not yet three, who came along for the big event. That morning, Monica was greeted by her good friend Andrea. And like magnets, the two of them found Cecilia ... the new friend who completed this circle of friendship as these three would quickly become the three muskateers. As Gerardo, Andrew, and I left the campus, I said to her what I still say to her and also to Andrew when I drop them off at school: "Pay attention to the teachers and be nice to the kids."
That night, after being fixated on the news and hearing all about the first day of kinder, our family went to sleep. Then in the middle of the night, Gerardo and I awoke because of the deafening sound we heard from the sky. We opened our front door and saw that the noise was coming from fighter jets ... flying so close to our neighborhood ... so close that I felt the wind hitting my face from the motion of these jets. I have never been so scared. I thought the world was going to end that night.
These three girls will always remember the morning of 9/11. The morning filled with excitement and also deep sadness.
It is the morning that the parents of these girls, as well as the parents of countless other schoolchildren will never forget. The morning when we hoped and prayed harder than ever before, to be swaddled in comfort, peace, healing, understanding, and friendship.