Man in the Red Bandana

Six years ago yesterday was the first day of school. Kids were getting on the bus, summer schedules were ending, fall was beginning.  I had no idea that morning that at 5:12 pm that evening “the first day of school” would take on an entirely different meaning, a dark and drastic ending.

History follows a pattern. Yesterday was September 6th. It fell on the first day of school–again. My kids woke up early in anticipation, eager to be at the bus stop on time. It made me think about summer schedules ending and fall beginning. As I waved goodbye, my heart was heavy and light. I glanced at my son’s choice of clothes, insisting that plaid matches plaid and Maddi’s pearly smile, so wide she should be on a toothpaste commercial.

I waved till they were out of site, hoping for an ordinary day.

Steven and I had breakfast before he had to leave for work. Pretending the day was normal, I prayed, “Thank you, God, for our food.” Steven squeezed my hand and said, “Thank you, God, for Shawn.”

When my kids got home from school, I asked them if they knew what today was.  Jordan raised his eyebrows with a confident guess, “The day my daddy died?” I assured my kids that this was a special day, a day to remember. We visited the grave. We brought seven balloons. Maddi chose the number. She wanted one for Cajsa, Onie, Maddi, Jordan, Mommy, Pops and Daddy in heaven.

The last thing I did last night was watch a video my dad sent me. It is called the “Man in the Red Bandana.” A stunning story of a man who saved twelve lives in the World Trade Center on 9/11. I recommend to all of my friends to watch the video this week in honor of the 9/11 victims and heroes and their surviving families.

My heart connected immediately to the story, as my son sleeps with a red bandana that Shawn used in Honduras. The video asks, “What would you do in the last hour of your life?”

Where would you be? What would it look like? Who would remember?

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