9-11 (Copied from Dal Sanders' Facebook Page)
9/11... It was a bad day. It was a very bad week. By now I know that all of you have heard and seen just about all the commentary you can stand about the events of September 11. After 10 years I still find it difficult to write about what happened.
I was scheduled to be in San Antonio for the week to perform corporate sponsored school shows. Monday's performances were great and I was getting ready for Tuesday's shows when my bride Cinde called me and told me to turn on the television. I tuned in just in time to see the second plane hit the World Trade Center. I immediately called my sponsor and told them we must cancel the shows for that day--maybe even the week. There was quite a bit of resistance to canceling the shows but as the morning progressed they finally saw that I was right and we postponed the school appearances for the rest of the day.
I called the corporate office for suggestions on what to do and no one seemed to know. All I knew was that I had to do something. As I watched the coverage I saw the answer written in the news crawl at the bottom of the screen. San Antonio is a town that hosts several military bases. There are many daycares near the bases that take care of the children of base employees and other military personnel. These daycares were going to be taking care of children as long as necessary--they would stay open 24 hours, 7 days a week if they had to. I knew what I had to do. I had to try to entertain these children and help take their minds off of the horrors of the day and try to relieve their fears about their parent’s safety.
The problem was that I was a wreck myself. I was personally terrified. I didn't know if we were at the verge of World War 3 or what. That didn't stop me though--I put on my costume, called the daycares and told them I was on my way. I always carry my "Just in Case" magic show with me and I also had some stickers, inexpensive crazy straws and some coloring sheets. I don’t remember how many daycares I visited that day. I remember that I started at 11:30 am and I didn’t get to what would be my last one until after 8:00 pm.
When I arrived at the last daycare I really didn't feel like performing and being funny anymore so I visited with the kids one on one and passed out the things I had brought. I sat down at one table and started to color with some of the kids there. One little girl looked up and asked, "Where is my Mommy? She's usually here by now!" I told her that I didn't know--then I asked her if she worked on the military base. The girl said yes so I told her that she probably had to work late today. She looked me in the eye and said, "Is today a bad day?" I didn't know what to say. On one hand I didn't want to worry her, on the other hand I didn't want to lie to her either. All the teachers at the facility held their breath waiting for my answer.
"Yes, it is a bad day," I simply told her.
"That's OK," she said. "Tomorrow will be better if we want it to be" With that she went back to her coloring. I sat at that table for a while longer, not wanting to leave the little philosopher that had just taught me so much. I knew immediately that she was right. Tomorrow would be better--and the next day better still if I chose for it to be better. I also knew that the very kids that I was there to comfort were comforting me…and teaching me. Finally though, I did leave. And I left with several new pictures to hang on my refrigerator.
...after ten years I still have those pictures.
Always believe in magic—