There have been a lot of things on television today that were probably foreign again, people talking about buildings that collapsed somewhere around the time that you were born, a lot of people dying, a lot of wars since. I've spent ten years trying to figure out how to explain these things to you, trying to decide how to best make you understand what we felt when many of us still haven't figured it out.
But there's just one problem with all of my plans. I don't want you to know how I felt. I don't want you to understand the emotional and psychological implications that a few plane crashes can cause.
As you grow up, you may want to know more, and I pray that you forgive my silence. Maybe it's selfish of me to keep this for myself. Maybe I'm depriving you of a valuable life lesson. But I still want to believe, have to believe, that you can live your entire without ever knowing what it's like to have every bit of your sense of security crushed in the time it takes a building to fall. I hope you never stare at the sky, looking for the planes you're hearing, and wondering if it's up there to crash on you or to shoot down another plane that might.
You may hear people tell you that America changed that day. They're not lying, but you have to understand that it wasn't for the better. At first, it looked like we might actually find unity, might actually find a way to live as human beings, setting aside our petty differences and creating a world where character actually counts more than culture.
But it never happened. People, in their fear, have given up on working together and instead embrace a warlike environment where every man fights vehemently for their own self-interests (or at least what they think their own self-interests are).
This idea that every day could be your last is a harmful distraction from the fact that most of us have to get along together for 70 years, that we have to prepare as if we'll live to be 90, that we will leave generations behind after we shuffle off this mortal coil.
That's Shakespeare, by the way, that last part. Hopefully you'll be learning about him before too long. It's a small hope, because your education is a victim of the fighting bred from insecurity. A lot of people, most of whom have never set foot in a public school, have decided that they know better than your teacher, who continue to study their craft long after earning a degree in education, and if those people could actually agree with each other, you'd be in even worse trouble.
And all this stems from three planes crashing into buildings and one crashing into a field. That's why I don't want you to understand what we're feeling, not even one little inkling. Maybe, despite our infighting and bickering, maybe we'll be able to keep you safe long enough that you can correct what we've become since September, 11, 2001.
And that's why I won't say anything. That's why I avoid the subject. Please forgive me, but it's the only source of hope I have left.