Try as I might, I can not create a more heartfelt tribute to the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance than I did last year in my Love Letter to NYC. Read it (or reread it) if you have a chance. It’s simple and evocative, and it’s still one of my favorite pieces of writing.
Poignant and personal as that post may be, however, it doesn’t come close to the book my oldest son wrote and illustrated on September 14, 2001. Ben was just six years old, and had begun first grade the week before. I remember him sitting down so earnestly to write at the computer, with his little Harry Potter glasses and his American flag lapel pin. “The Very Sad Story About America” was his way of processing the calamitous and powerful events of the week. He’s a high school senior now, applying to college, and he has won a bunch of prestigious writing awards. But nothing he’s written is more precious to me than this book. I’m proud to share it, with the author reading his own words.