A child that has a heart and wears it, opens up your mind and literally stops you in your thoughts. ~Heather Piper
On Sunday, May 1, 2011 President Obama announced that terrorist, Osama Bin Laden was shot dead in Pakistan.
After swimming class on Monday evening we watched the news outlining the details of this event. First, I would like to call out that Kyle likes watching the news. He turns it on without me asking and sits and watches it as I make dinner. I’m sure I’ve called that out before, but I wanted to reiterate.
We were watching as they described how the navy seal team six were transported in two helicopters to the compound in Pakistan to take down Bin Laden. The story went on how the helicopters hovered over the compound, where the terrorist leader was thought to be staying. The news segment continued on how President Obama took a chance and sent in the U.S. troops to take Bin Laden dead or alive. Kyle sat and watched very intently as they went through the story. I was waiting to answer any questions he might have. I expected questions such as “Who was Bin Laden?”, “What did he do?”, “Why did they kill him?”, “How do they know they got the right person?” and so on and so on, even though I’ve talked to him about the terrorists and the constant threats.
Kyle got up to get a pencil to start his homework, and in that moment I thought, “He really doesn’t care or doesn’t understand enough to talk about the news.” Which was strange because he always has questions or some sort of opinion or concern on the topic featured. Then, in that moment of my thoughts, Kyle stopped in his tracks, as if reading my mind, turned toward me with his back lightly facing me, threw up his hands as if making a confused gesture and said, “Why would Obama do that?” I actually was baffled. The news was focusing on the navy seal team and their actions plus Bin Laden, AND KYLE WAS WONDERING ABOUT THE ACTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT? I asked, “What do you mean buddy?” and he said, “Why would Obama take a chance with our team and send them in on the ground when they were flying over the building with helicopters? They could have bombed the bad guys cause our guys could have been hurt too.” Wow! The thought process and the sincerity for our troops just blew me away. I said, “Well, buddy I’m not 100% sure, but I’m guessing the President wanted to make sure we killed Bin Laden. If they bombed the compound, then the body would have been annihilated and we wouldn’t have our proof that Bin Laden was no longer a threat. “
I waited as he thought about those words and said, “Ok, that makes sense cause, Aunt Heather, I was going to say, our guys could have been hurt too.” I told him, I understood what he was talking about and I told him it was a decision our President made and the troops obeyed orders to ensure Bin Laden’s extinction. He then asked, “Well how do they know they got him and not someone wearing a disguise?” I told him that they compared DNA samples and they did facial recognition on him like what’s used on the Xbox.
Not another word was said until the following Monday when I was helping Kyle with his homework. He had to write a paper on Texas, each student had to pick a state and write about it. I was excited because I just finished reading the book Churchill’s The History of the English Speaking Peoples. There was a section on the pre-civil war and the annexation of Texas. I thought, “Perfect!” I pulled my book out and showed him the couple of pages that focused on Texas. I went on about how dictator Santa Anna crushed our troops at the Alamo and that’s where the famous phrase, “Remember the Alamo” comes from. Well I must have been talking over his head cause he said to me, “Aunt Heather, I really don’t understand the Alamo.” Then I tried to make it easy on him by making a loose comparison to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. I said, “Santa Anna was the leader of the opposite side, like Bin Laden. Santa Anna killed a lot of our troops at the Alamo the same way Bin Laden organized the attack on our World Trade Center and the Pentagon (also remembering the tragedy in Shanksville, Pennsylvania). Like today when people say, ‘Remember 9/11’, back then, the people were saying ‘Remember the Alamo’. They were sad for losing so many friends and family. He went, “O I get it!” I know it was a very loose comparison but I couldn’t think fast enough.
Again, not another word was said, but this past weekend Kyle went to my mom’s work for an open house where they had a crafts table for kids. He came home with helicopters and a fort made out of popsicle sticks. He said he was going to line up his Legos and they were going to be bombed by the helicopters. Amazing how that sticks with him!
Is it wrong to have Kyle watch the news? My opinion is: as long as I answer his questions and explain it’s a part of life and reality. But should we as guardians be so detailed in telling the truth?