Dad reporting from Ground Zero, not sure what to say

I’m going to New York City on Sept. 11 to write about the city on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. I’ll speak to people in my hometown and record their thoughts on a complex and forever painful topic. I understand the assignment, and know what I'm supposed to do.

What I’m not sure about is how to explain the trip to the Little Girl.

She wasn’t born when the towers fell, and has no idea of the pain suffered by so many people, including the family of one of my childhood friends, who died among nearly 3,000 others.

My brother lived four blocks from the World Trade Center and, as a corporate executive, placed people in a meeting there at the time the planes hit. He was spared, but he lives with the memory of those lost colleagues.

Is this stuff I even broach with my daughter?

I don’t want to burden her, but I don’t want her to not know, either.

I try to channel my late mom on such matters, and I think she’d say to say as little as possible. The world’s sadness works its way into every soul, at some point. Why hasten that?

So, when I return from New York, I suppose I’ll provide a minimal account of my day, then ask her about hers.

If I happen to hug her a little too tightly, I’ll apologize. Then I'll hug her once more.