On September 11, 2001, I was working as a speech and language pathologist, supporting co-taught 9th grade language arts and social studies classes, at Verona Area High School.

Class was interrupted with the news over the loudspeaker, and because there were TVs in the room, teachers and students witnessed the terror together. Teachers fielded questions, and, acknowledging the power and privilege citizens have in this country, facilitated conversation around why people of other countries might be angry with the US.

At the same time, thoughtful orchestration of student use of the classroom phone to call loved ones in New York was conducted. Over the next several hours, having watched the destruction of the twin towers dozens of times, I could not help but feel pangs of regret about my newly blossoming pregnancy, lamenting the world my first child would be born into.

Yet the love demonstrated by the diversity of first responders sparked the urgency with which I sought out continuing education in social justice and racial healing.

Since September 11, 2001 I have striven to make my daughter's life beautiful by helping create an equitable path toward beauty for people I'm privileged to encounter; I have taken actions to tread more lightly upon our earth, make policy changes by becoming an elected official, volunteer to support breastfeeding, and continuously evaluate how my values and identity affect my relationships.

Although I'm doing my best to be a good role model, perhaps the early prenatal traumatic event of 9/11/01 is what instilled my daughter’s keen ability to center her actions in love and bring positivity to the lives of others.

Heather Reekie


Recommended for you