Monday, July 20, 2009

Open Eyes and Open Hearts

Kaitlin Babbitt - NV
Spring Valley Community

When my brothers got the Popsicle that I wanted or I lost my new toy, my mom would simply smile and tell me that sometimes life isn't fair.

Today, that lesson moved me to tears.

I'm sure that 100 girls and some odd counselors were a sight to be had in our glorious pink uniform shirts, holding red carnations and trekking through the humidity to a sacred ground: the 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon.

Yet, people soon saw our purpose as flowers were placed on the benches remembering the 184 people who died September 11, 2001 at that site.

Numerous flowers were placed on the very first bench; however, one that memorialized the youngest victim of this attack: 3 year old Dana Falkenburg. As one of the first people to see her memorial, I immediately thought of all that I had seen and experienced at that age: imagination, wonder, and lots of food.

I wondered what this little girl had experienced, loved, and cherished. I also reflected upon some of her final moments, with tears in my eyes.

At only three years old, precious Dana had seen more hatred and fear than most of us ever will. She, an innocent child, was assumed as the target of these terrorist attacks. I cannot imagine what she and her family had to go through during their last precious moments on this Earth.

With my head bent, I apologized to the little girl, explaining that the world was not horrible, yet she was not given enough time to figure that out for herself. I told her that I didn't understand why she, an innocent, sweet little girl, had to die. I thanked her for her courage and for her sacrifice.

Among the other people memorialized at the Pentagon, three were related to Dana. Her sister, Zoe, was my age, and would never experience high school graduation, prom, our having a family of her own.

On September 11, 2001, 184 people sacrificed their lives for our country and for our freedom, without being asked or volunteering. They were put into a situation that was beyond their control, helpless during their final moments here. This brings to light the lesson that sometimes life isn't fair, yet we must go forward with open eyes and open hearts.

I am eternally grateful to all that sacrificed their lives that day.

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