I spent the first half of today doing lessons with my kids. Homeschooling has its advantages, though. Instead of our normal math/spelling/science lessons, we spent the morning immersed in history. I walked them through the timeline of the events of September 11, 2001. My eleven-year-old son was in tears as I explained to him that the hijackers wanted so desperately to kill Americans that they had no regard for their own lives. My nine-year-old daughter covered her eyes as we watched video of the towers collapsing in clouds of smoke and debris. The younger kids just watched, in wide-eyed shock at the airplane flying into the second tower.
For my part, I had not watched these videos since 2001. I couldn't. Even today I felt my heart leap into my throat when I saw the impact. I teared up when I heard the voices of terrified New Yorkers frozen forever in that moment on the videos we watched. And the tears rolled when we watched the response at Ground Zero from then President George W. Bush.
I was reminded of that goofy meme that has been circulating pretty much since Obama's first inauguration: the picture of President Bush, thoroughly amused, with the phrase, "Miss me yet?" And I do. Not because I loved his policies - because I didn't, not all of them anyway. His "compassionate conservatism" was nothing more than Karl Rove's repackaging of "democrat-lite." And don't get me started on "No Child Left Behind" or those ridiculous curly light bulbs. But I can't help thinking that if George W. Bush had been President in 2012, we would be telling a different story about Benghazi. If there was any story to tell at all.