There are many ways to commemorate the atrocity that was September 11th. You could observe a minute’s silence at 9 a.m. EST. You could listen to The Rising, Bruce Springsteen’s 2002 masterpiece, as hopeful and uplifting a record as anyone might expect given that it was born in fire and blood. You could spend time with the people you love. Or you could do nothing at all, and just think.
Or, if you were so minded, you could email this to everyone you know. Who cares that it was actually written a year before 9/11 and then adapted for the glurge market? It’s unique. Incredibly unique.
Her hair was up in a pony tail
her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy’s Day at school
and she couldn’t wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her
that she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand
if she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid
she knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
of why he wasn’t there today.
But still her mother worried
for her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again
she tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school
eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees
a dad who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in back
for everyone to meet.
Children were squirming impatiently
anxious in their seats.
One by one the teacher called
a student from the class
to introduce their daddy.
As seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
every child turned to stare
Each of them was searching
for a man who wasn’t there.
“Where’s her daddy at?”
she heard a boy call out.
“She probably doesn’t have one,”
another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
she heard a daddy say
“Looks like another deadbeat dad,
too busy to waste his day.”
The words did not offend her,
as she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
who told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back
slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child
came words incredibly unique.
“My Daddy couldn’t be here
because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be
since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
and how much he loves me so.
“He loved to tell me stories
he taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses
and taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him,
I’m not standing here alone.
“‘Cause my daddy’s always with me
even though we are apart.
I know because he told me
he’ll forever be in my heart.”
With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat
beneath her favorite dress.
And from somewhere in the crowd of dads
her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her
doing what was right.
And when she dropped her hand back down
staring straight into the crowd,
she finished with a voice so soft
but its message clear and loud.
“I love my daddy very much,
he’s my shining star.
And if he could, he’d be here,
but heaven’s just too far!
“You see he was a fireman
and died just this past year
when airplanes hit the towers
and taught Americans to fear.
But sometimes when I close my eyes
it’s like he never went away.”
And then she closed her eyes,
and saw him there that day.
And to her mother’s amazement,
she witnessed with surprise
a room full of daddies and children,
all starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them
who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second
they saw him at her side
“I know you’re with me Daddy,”
to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers
of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it
for each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her
was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.
And a child was blessed, if only for a moment
by the love of her shining bright star.
And given the gift of believing
that heaven is never too far.