Do you remember where you were on September, 11, 2001?  I sure do.  I was in a different world than the one I occupy today… I was working in corporate America… in Chicago… in the Sears Towers.  As the emails trickled in about ‘an airplane hitting the World Trade Center’ I remember trying to go online to CNN and the website timing out.  People all over the world were trying to figure out what in the world happened and the internet basically crashed.

Obviously, the Sears Tower (now called The Willis Tower, but will always be The Sears Tower to me) was considered the center of the terrorist bullseye.  We were immediately evacuated and sent home.  When I returned to work a week later, the building security had been totally overhauled and I felt as though I was walking into a fortress.

My other distinct memory of that time was a coworker who brought in catalogs with parachutes and other devices to escape the high floor we were on in an emergency.  We had many discussions about how we could get from our floor down to the ground below safely without using stairs or elevators.  We also had many drills down the stairs.

In any event, this day, like for many others, set my life into a different trajectory.  After a year or so of soul searching, I left my job, left the city, and began my journey as a teacher.

My sprouts have the luxury of not remembering that horrible day.  It’s not on their radar.  While many of them have seen or heard on the news about the ‘war’ or ‘terrorism’, these ideas are abstract to them.  Unless they have a family member in the military (I’ve had a few of those), it’s just not something they ponder.  Each year as 9/11 approaches, my mind wanders back to that day.  My heart struggles with wanting to remember and honor the day and being respectful of the innocence and hope of my students.

Words like ‘bad people’ and ‘bad decisions’ come to mind, but usually, I just stick with something along the lines of ‘today we celebrate and honor the bravery and courage of our country’ – which just feels right for kindergarten.  In order to help facilitate this in the classroom, Debbie Clement has written a beautiful new book, Red, White, and Blue.

Debbie’s book honors the first responders and heroes and the courage and bravery of our country without actually going into any details of the horrific day.  The illustrations are gorgeous and the words, which are a song that comes on a CD with the book, are perfectly appropriate.

Debbie has been gracious enough to offer a signed copy of the hardcover book to one lucky winner!  Since I’ve already got my Back to School Giveaway going on with three prizes and winners, let’s just add Debbie Clement’s Red, White, and Blue to the giveaway.  So, instead of three winners, there will be four.  Winner number four using a random number generator will recieve the book.  See the original Back to School Giveaway to enter.  Good luck!