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The Real Heroes

May we never forget...
My family recently relocated to upstate New York. One weekend we decided to take a break from the craziness of unpacking and take a trip into New York City. It had been a few years since I myself had visited the city, so I too was eager as we hopped on a train to Grand Central Station. The train itself is a gift to parents because instead of fighting traffic while listening to the kids argue over who-touched-who, you can sit back and relax while enjoying views of the beautiful Hudson river. When the kids argue, you just pretend they don’t belong to you. :)

Upon arriving in the city, our first stop was the most highly requested tourist attraction: Times Square (more accurately, the Toys R Us on Times Square). That was followed by the Statue of Liberty and a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry. My husband and I both wanted to visit the new World Trade Center; however, with kids ages 14, 11, and 4 we were not certain they would truly understand it’s meaning and so decided to pass this visit.

To my surprise, as I stood on the back of the Staten Island Ferry with my 11 year old son admiring the spectacular views of Manhattan, he pointed out the new WTC building. This opened up a very frank discussion about 9/11 and the sad and tragic events of that day. Though it happened before he was born, he asked where I had been and what I had been doing. Like most people, my whereabouts on that day can never be forgotten.

We talked openly about the shiny new structure standing tall in place of the Twin Towers. He pointed out designs elements of the building he liked and how the scaffolding on the outside shows it’s still being built. I marveled at the tenacity and perseverance of America and how the simple act of rebuilding sends such a powerful message: we will not be beaten.

On the train ride home while my husband dozed next to me, the 4 year old who has more energy than the rest of us combined, pulled out her coloring pages. She worked intently on her favorite one. It is the picture of a fireman.

I leaned over and asked her what she was coloring. She looked up and simply said, “It’s a hero.”

I sat back and smiled to myself. Yes, my dear child, it is. It truly is.

~ Jennifer