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"Faces of Hope", and some thoughts, 10 years after 9/11

By It's My Life on September 8, 2011 3:08 PM | No TrackBacks

We have not one but two big anniversaries coming up this weekend. The first, of course, is the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The second is the anniversary of It's My Life.

That's right. IML was born right after these attacks happened 10 years ago. We had just gotten the news that we were getting funding to create this website for tweens, and were starting to plan it out, when that day happened. One year later, we created a section called September 11 to help IML'ers think about and talk about not just those events, but all the fears and feelings associated with them. Even though most of today's IML'ers don't remember 9/11/01, we think the information on those pages still holds some great advice, especially "Feeling Freaked Out," "Media Madness," and "Celebrate Diversity."

Faces Hope 10 Year.jpgAfter the attacks, a book called "Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11" was published, featuring fifty babies -- one from each U.S. state -- who were busy being born on the same day the world changed for most of us. The author, Christine Pisera Naman, has revisited these now-tweens in her new book, "Faces of Hope: Ten Years Later." Christine shared some of her experiences creating the book as we all reflect on this anniversary.

IML: Besides their birth date, what do the kids in your book have in common? 

IMG_0228.JPGChristine: I think they have much in common.  They are all happy, energetic, full-of-life tweens. They have never lived in a time where 9/11 has not existed but yet they see our world as a hopeful, happy place, one in which they believe that they can make a difference. They are quite a diverse group with each one  coming  from one of the fifty states. They live different lives and lifestyles that have them spread out all over the United States but they remain linked by their birthday and its significance.
IML: What have most of the kids been told about the day they were born, and how did their families keep birthdays joyous while also being respectful?
Christine: Now that the kids are approaching ten years old, the families have now begun telling them a little bit more in detail about the events of September 11.  They know that it is a sad day in our history because innocent lives were lost.  They are aware of the plane crashes and the way in which the events unfolded.  I think that in regards to "knowing," they may be at slightly different levels but it is now a part of the history classes they participate in at school so they do have knowledge.

I think that birthdays are acknowledged two-fold by most families.  We celebrate the child and the great people they are becoming just as you would any child on their birthday. But I also think that the families set aside time to make sure that they respect the bigger picture by honoring and praying for those lost and their loved ones.

IML: Do you think these kids feel a "responsibility" to the world, or at least to those around them, because they were born on 9/11/01?
Christine: Personally, I don't know if they do but I would love it if my own son felt more of a responsibility to do good for the world because he was born on 9/11/01.
IML: The book is dedicated to Christina Taylor Green, who is featured posthumously after being one of the victims of the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona last January. What did you learn about Christina during the process of doing the book?
Christine: I learned that Christina was an amazing, beautiful, intelligent little girl.  She was gifted in so many ways and had so many interests that made her into the special child that she was.

IML: Many of today's 10-year-old's don't really understand what happened on that day and how it changed the world. Do you think it's important for kids to know that, or is it better to keep it in the past and focus on the present and future?
Christine: I think it's important for all children to know in a way that's appropriate to them what 9/11 was about.  It is a part of our history and they need to know about the tragic events. It is a good opportunity to teach them about the courage and goodness that came from that day. We can show and tell them that humanity banded together as one and stood up against adversity.

IML: Thank you, Christine! What a great way for us to recognize this day.

Now it's your turn: Tell us how you think the events of 9/11/01 changed the world!

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